Advertisement Comment Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 22 Sep 2020 11:05 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link740Shares Advertisement Messi could have joined Fabregas at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)Lionel Messi’s former agent, Fabian Soldini, has revealed the Barcelona icon was ‘tempted’ to follow Cesc Fabregas in moving to Arsenal back in 2003.The Gunners were interested in the Argentine while he was in Barca’s La Masia academy, but a move never materialised due to work permit issues.Fellow academy star Fabregas, however, did end up making the move to Arsenal and enjoyed a successful eight-year spell at the club, before eventually switching back to the Catalan giants in 2011. Lionel Messi was ‘tempted’ to follow Cesc Fabregas to Arsenal, reveals former agent Messi has returned to action for Barca (Picture: Getty Images)Messi’s former representative during his youth days, Soldini, admitted that the winger considered a transfer to north London.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘[Messi] was tempted to go to Arsenal, but he didn’t go,’ he told Marca.‘I remember the day that Cesc asked to leave. Messi was also asked to go, but he didn’t want to leave.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalEx-Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has claimed Arsenal were ‘close’ to signing Messi, but in a recent interview with BBC Sport, former scout Francis Cagigao admitted that while Wenger’s claims may have been slightly overblown, talks between the two parties did in fact take place.‘I think Arsene stated while manager that we were close to signing Messi [in 2003]. I wouldn’t go as far as saying we were close,’ he told BBC Sport.‘We were there or thereabouts and discussions took place with his representatives. He had issues with a work permit, so that was discarded.’MORE: Diego Simeone contacts Lucas Torreira as Atletico Madrid target loan deal with ArsenalMORE: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirms no talks have started yet over new Alexandre Lacazette contractFollow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and InstagramFor more stories like this, check our sport page
LOS ANGELES — Andre Ethier has appeared in more postseason games than anyone in Dodgers history. Game 7 of the World Series on Wednesday was his 51st.Ethier, 35, might never play another game in a Dodgers uniform. The team will almost certainly decline his $17.5 million contract option for 2018. That doesn’t mean Ethier won’t be back. Even if he is paid a $2.5 million buyout, the Dodgers can always negotiate a new deal to keep him in Los Angeles for a 13th season.If Ethier does not return, his Dodgers career ended with a lasting memory. As a pinch hitter in the sixth inning of a 5-0 game, Ethier singled through the right side of the Astros’ infield to drive in the Dodgers’ only run. It was his first World Series hit at home.Related Articles Photos: Dodgers vs. Astros, World Series Game 7 Astros’ George Springer slugs his way to World Series MVP Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Yu Darvish’s World Series Game 7 start is a disaster for Dodgers Reaction to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Game 7 loss in the World Series against the Houston Astros Considering how the last two years have played out for Ethier, the ending was a fitting reward for his perseverance. Astros pounce early, top Dodgers for World Series title But in spring training the following year, Ethier fouled a ball off his leg, fracturing his tibia. He didn’t return to the field until Sept. 2016. By then he was relegated to pinch-hitting duties. Healthy again to begin the 2017 season, Ethier had a fresh opportunity to earn regular at-bats as the Dodgers’ primary left fielder. But another injury cropped up in spring training – this time a herniated disk in his back – and another season was thwarted. He did not recover until September.Video: What went wrong for the Dodgers?Ethier still found his way onto the Dodgers’ 25-man roster for all three postseason rounds. He started only two games but managed to collect four hits in 13 at-bats, including a home run in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.Now, he could enter the offseason among the key free agents the Dodgers’ front office must address.Reliever Brandon Morrow seems like the most likely to return. The right-hander forged a role as the primary set-up man to Kenley Jansen in a stalwart bullpen. Despite appearing in all seven World Series games, he was still touching 99 mph in Game 7.“I would love an opportunity to come back,” Morrow said after the game.Pitcher Tony Watson said he enjoyed his three months in Los Angeles after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates at the trade deadline. He was one of two impact left-handers out of the bullpen in the World Series along with Tony Cingrani. He made $5.6 million in 2017.Chase Utley’s veteran presence was often cited by teammates as instrumental among the Dodgers’ core leadership group. At 38, Utley was still useful as part of a lefty/righty platoon at second base with Logan Forsythe, who can also become a free agent if the Dodgers decline his 2018 contract option.Yu Darvish could become the most coveted pitcher in a potentially weak free agent class for starting pitchers. But the right-hander didn’t help his cause by throwing only 1⅔ innings in each of his World Series starts. He was the losing pitcher in the decisive Game 7.Curtis Granderson is even more certain to hit the free agent market. The 36-year-old outfielder looked like a shell of his former self after the Dodgers acquired him in an August trade with the New York Mets. He batted .161 in 36 regular-season games as a Dodger, and was left off the World Series roster.For Ethier, returning to the Dodgers would represent more than a sentimental victory lap at the end of a long career. It would be a just reward for his perseverance, and for a key contribution in the Dodgers’ most important game of the season.“Personally, he was great to me,” rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger said. “He helped me progress this year throughout the ups and downs. I’ve got to give him a lot of credit. That was awesome.” Dodgers fan: ‘L.A. is heartbroken’ Whicker: Astros leave Dodgers offense stranded in space Miller: An appreciation for a Dodgers team that delivered everything but what mattered most ‘Houston Strong’ prevails in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series against the Dodgers’ strongest efforts Ethier did not speak to reporters after Wednesday’s game.“He’s been here for 12 years with the same team,” Dodgers outfielder Joc Pederson said. “That’s extremely hard to do. Obviously he’s doing a lot of things right and has a great mentality and outlook on how to handle baseball and adversity and everything.”Ethier looked rejuvenated in 2015, when he batted .294 with 14 home runs and 53 runs batted in. His 137 OPS-plus set a career high at age 33.