We tried to sign Ronaldo and Messi – Wenger
The two best players on the planet were wanted by Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger, whose 22-year managerial reign came to a close at the end of the season, has revealed how he tried to sign both superstars for the Gunners.
The Frenchman told Arsenal.com: “The obvious player [Arsenal missed out on] that comes to mind is Ronaldo.
“He was here with his mother and we were very close. Then Man United came in and they had Carlos Queiroz at the time, who was their coach. United played against Sporting Lisbon and Ronaldo was outstanding and they signed him.
“There is always something you could have done differently, but the problem of negotiations is to know when you give in and when you don’t give in.
“Once we were at £4.5million, we were still in negotiations. David [Dein] met with [agent Jorge] Mendes in Paris and he was representing Sporting, so we were very close. But Man United went to £12million, which we could not afford at the time.
“I met Cesc’s [Fabregas] parents and at the time we were interested in Messi and [Gerard] Pique as well. We tried for the three but of course it didn’t work out…because of the agents.
“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.”