Arsenal tried to get Lionel Messi but we couldn’t, says Arsene Wenger

Arsenal tried to get Lionel Messi but we couldn’t, says Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has refused to accept that Premier League sides are falling behind Europe’s elite, even though Arsenal failed to sign Lionel Messi in the past. 

The Gunners were once again eliminated from the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona on Wednesday when the Catalan giants won 3-1 at the Camp Nou, registering a 5-1 win on aggregate.

Manchester City are now the only English team left in the competition but Wenger doesn’t believe that standards are slipping for English clubs or that it is becoming harder to attract top stars to these shores.

“I don’t accept it, believe me,” the Frenchman is quoted as saying by Eurosport. “But I must say on the other hand as well, Messi is Messi. Neymar is Neymar. They play in Barcelona. Did we miss them? Yes. But we tried to get Messi, we couldn’t.

“By getting the players here. The quality of the players, football belongs first to the players and the quality of the players.

“I believe that with more income in England the best players will slowly all come to England and that will be the answer.

“For years we were in England always in the last, sometimes you played an English team in the quarter-final and the semi-final of the Champions League. I believe we’ll come back again.”

Messi grabbed his 37th goal of the season against Arsenal earlier this week, with Luis Suarez and Neymar also getting on the scoresheet.

The defeat for Arsenal, though, was the sixth consecutive time that the Gunners have been eliminated from the Champions League in the Round of 16.

Although Wenger has managed to bring players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to the Emirates from the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent seasons, he has struggled to sign a world-class striker, which many feel is Arsenal’s Achilles heel.

Petr Cech was the only summer signing but the experienced goalkeeper was out-of-favour at Chelsea. Beyond that, Mohamed Elneny was Wenger’s only January signing with the Egyptian joining from Swiss side Basel.

 Arsenal conceded 15 goals in the Champions League this season.