How Arsenal Missed the Once in a Lifetime Opportunity to Sign Lionel Messi

Published 08/16/2021, 1:43 AM EDT
PARIS, FRANCE – AUGUST 13: Lionel Messi warms up during a Paris Saint-Germain training session at Ooredoo Center on August 13, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier – PSG/PSG via Getty Images)


Lionel Messi is arguably one of the best players ever to play the game of football. With his incredible dribbling skills, coupled with his impeccable vision and finishing, Messi is perhaps one of the most well-rounded attacking talents football has ever seen.

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Playing majority of his career with Spanish giants FC Barcelona, it looked like a match made in heaven. With Barca having players like Ronaldinho, the Argentine had the perfect opportunity to hone his footballing skills. The stats certainly speak for themselves. Messi is perhaps the biggest reasons for Barca becoming an European super-club. in the last decade.

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When Arsene Wenger and Arsenal missed out on Lionel Messi

The Argentine recently rocked the footballing world as he ended a 21-year-old stint with FC Barcelona and joined Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain. But things could have been very different indeed.

Barcelona might have kept hold of the 6-time Ballon D’or winner for 21 long years, but it was an open secret that multiple teams wanted to sign the talismanic winger. One of the teams who tried to steal away the Argentine was Arsenal.

In a press conference back in 2014, then manager Arsene Wenger explained how close the North Londoners were to bring in Messi and why he ultimately didn’t join. “It’s true. In the end he was not very keen to move.”

Wenger later revealed that Arsenal were targeting the trio of Cesc Fabregas, Messi and Gerard Pique. “It was at a period when Fabregas came because Fabregas and Messi played together in the same team.

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“We wanted to take Fabregas, Messi and Pique. It worked only for Fabregas and it was not completely down to a flat, it was down to the fact that in the end Messi was comfortable to play with Barcelona.”

Arsenal only succeeded in signing Spanish midfielder Fabregas from Barcelona. While Fabregas certainly had an incredible impact on the team, one could only imagine how transformative of a transfer Messi could have been.

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Messi is not the only name that Wenger claimed that he wanted to sign. Notable names like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Yaya Toure and Cristiano Ronaldo also were linked to Arsenal early in their careers.

The French manager certainly had an eye for world class talent. If his what-if moves would have materialized, Arsenal could have had one of the best teams ever.

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Aditya Mohapatra

1186 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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