'Messi tempted to join Arsenal' - agent

Stuart Telford
Stuart Telford
  • 14 Apr 2024 10:30 BST
  • 3 min read
Lionel Messi playing for Inter Miami.

Lionel Messi's former agent Fabian Soldini has revealed that game's best ever player was previously tempted to join Arsenal.

Messi, the record eight-time Ballon d'Or winner, is now winding down his career in Florida with the David Beckham-backed Inter Miami, for whom he has seven goals and four assists from eight games this season.

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Inter reportedly beat Barcelona and a big money offer from Saudi Arabia to sign him on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain last summer, and Apple's MLS viewing figures since his arrival have been off the scale.

READ MORE: Lionel Messi at Inter Miami: Goals, assists, results & fixtures in 2024

The 36-year-old has been in high demand his whole career, and Arsenal tried to steal a march on the competition before his Barcelona prime, as revealed by Soldini in an interview with Marca.

'He was tempted'

"He was tempted to go to Arsenal, but he didn't go," Soldini recalled of the time when the Gunners signed Cesc Fabregas from La Masia back in 2003.

"I remember the day that Cesc asked to leave. Messi was also asked to go, but [ultimately] he didn't want to leave."

Arsenal's loss was of course Barcelona's gain, with Messi going on to register 672 goals and 303 assists in 778 games with the Blaugrana - all club records.

READ MORE: Arsenal's 10 most expensive transfers of all time

He won 10 La Ligas and four Champions Leagues with the club, and was widely regarded as the best player in the world when he left on a free for PSG in 2021.

Despite playing for his third club - and fourth if you count Newell's Old Boys in his youth, Messi has never cost anybody a transfer fee.

He is now valued at €24.1m by FootballTransfers' in-house algorithm, but Inter and MLS wouldn't entertain any bids for him today, with his off-field influence making him worth far more to them than just a transfer fee.

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