Interview

‘We got Cesc and we tried for Messi and Pique’

Arsene Wenger has revealed how we tried to sign Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique at the same time that we landed Cesc Fabregas.

Fabregas moved to north London in the summer of 2003 and quickly broke into the first team, becoming our youngest ever player and goalscorer in his first few months.
 
The Spain international went on to captain the side, making 212 appearances before returning to Barcelona.
 
But if things had turned out differently he may not have arrived on his own from the Catalan club. Wenger takes up the story.
 
“The story of Cesc Fabregas is that Franny Cagiago and Steve Rowley brought the player here and we had to convince him,” he told Arsenal.com.
 
“I met Cesc’s parents and at the time we were interested in Messi and Pique as well. We tried for the three but of course it didn’t work out, but we got a gem there in Cesc and he is an exceptional player. A brain for football.
 
“[It didn’t work out with Messi and Pique] because of the agents. I think it was linked with Nike at the time and they wanted Pique to go to Man United. With Messi, Barcelona didn’t want to lose him of course and they made [the offer] that was needed to keep the player at the club.
 
“I don’t really know if Messi was interested… I couldn’t get close to try to force the deal because Barcelona stopped that possibility very early.”