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Arsenal were close to Lionel Messi AND Gerard Pique transfer, who could have followed Cesc Fabregas, reveals former scout Francis Cagigao

Magambo vitalis

Sept. 09, 2020

Former Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao has revealed Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique came close to joining the Gunners during his time at the club.
Messi has established himself as one of the finest players to ever grace the game, while Pique also remains a mainstay in Barca’s side.
It could have turned out very differently, though, had they finalised moves to the Emirates.
Last year, legendary former manager Arsene Wenger claimed the north London side had their eyes on the pair after completing a deal for Cesc Fabregas in 2003.
“We tried, we were not near to signing Messi,” Wenger said on beIN Sports . “But we tried to sign Pique, Fabregas and Messi, of course, we already tried but he was already too big at the time.
And in a YouTube interview with Guillem Balague, Cagigao confirmed Arsenal wanted Messi and Pique.
“ Arsene [Wenger ] has said that at one stage we were close to signing Leo Messi and although I wouldn’t go so far as to say we were close, we were there or thereabouts,” he explained.
“Discussions took place with his representative, but he had an issue with his work permit which at the time wasn’t even clear in Spain where he was, so that was discarded.”
The Spaniard, who was one of 55 redundancies made by the Gunners due to COVID-19, also confirmed that negotiations broke down with Pique due to contractual issues with his representatives.
On Pique, he added: “It’s public knowledge that Gerard Pique was inches away from signing a contract with us, but he joined Manchester United six months later.
“There was some contractual disagreement between the club and Gerard’s representatives, and it didn’t go forward because of that.”
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