Lionel Messi could potentially have been plying his trade for Arsenal in the Premier League next season, if reports in Spain are to be believed.
The Barcelona maestro allegedly expressed an interest in moving from the Camp Nou to the Emirates before signing a new contract with the La Liga giants, as per Enrique Marin of Spanish outlet Vozpopuli (via Metro):
The Argentine superstar eventually penned his extension with Barca in May having previously rejected fresh terms, following a row over bonus payments.
And Spanish newspaper Vozpopuli, who broke the news of Arsenal’s deal for Alexis Sanchez, says Messi was seriously considering a switch to the Emirates before sorting out an arrangement to stay at the Nou Camp.
The paper claims that Messi had spoken to close friend Cesc Fabregas about his time at Arsenal, and also sounded out other acquaintances about a switch to London.
The 27-year-old Messi also reportedly went as far as to ask his agent to enter discussions with Arsene Wenger's Gunners to work out if a potential deal could be made.
Cesc Fabregas himself was reportedly offered back to Arsenal after he was deemed surplus to requirements by Barca, but Wenger allegedly expressed concerns to his former player as to whether he could find a place for him, and the Spaniard eventually joined Chelsea, as per ESPN.co.uk: "We spoke to Wenger and he said that the space was very well filled by Mesut Ozil and it was hard to find a place for both of us in the team."
He [Messi] reportedly earns £15.8 [million] per season. That’s around £300k per week. No player at Arsenal is on half that and Wenger takes the wage structure at the club very seriously.
I can hear Wenger’s breathing getting shallow just thinking about paying someone £300k per week.
However, all speculation as to any move by Messi to Arsenal is now completely academic, as the player—arguably the best in the world—has signed a new contract with Barca to reportedly make him the highest-paid footballer in the world, as per BBC Sport.
Any Messi move to north London would have automatically made them genuine title contenders and his continued presence at Barcelona makes them well placed to retake La Liga next season after Atletico Madrid's triumph in 2013-14.
The Argentinian recently won the Golden Ball award as his side were beaten in the final of the 2014 World Cup and—although he took criticism last season—scored 28 La Liga goals during the term, as per WhoScored.com.
He continues to perform at the very top of the world game and would vastly improve any team he plays for. At least for now, that is not Arsenal.