Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has added more fuel to the fire surrounding the Cesc Fabregas transfer by claiming that Arsenal’s manager once wanted to join him at Camp Nou.
Barcelona were going through a transitional period at the turn of the millennium and were very much in Real Madrid’s shadows with their great rivals in the middle of a run of lifting three European Cups in five seasons.
Gaspart explains that Barcelona tried to sign Arsene Wenger as coach in 2001.
“When I was president, when [Llorenc] Serra Ferrer, left we negotiated with Arsene Wenger and Fabio Capello to coach Barca,” he said.
“I met Wenger in Paris. He wanted to come to Barca but Arsenal didn’t let him. The Arsenal chairman ordered him to fulfil his contract.”
He added: “Capello also wanted to come, but they (AS Roma) didn’t let him either.”
While the courting of Wenger by both Barcelona and Real Madrid has never been a secret, this is certainly the first time that there has been a claim that Wenger actually wanted to leave.
However, Wenger’s stock in north London is so high that it is impossible to see anyone connected with Arsenal looking down on him for this indiscretion but it is a canny move in the ongoing Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona saga.