Cook: Man City bid for Messi - and Barcelona were willing to sell

Posted Friday, December 27, 2019 by

Cook: Man City bid for Messi - and Barcelona were willing to sell

Former Manchester City chief exec Garry Cook has admitted bidding for Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Cook worked at City between 2008 and 2011 after the club were taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group, and was in charge of overseeing transfers.

And he admits to making a bid for Messi in 2008 after mishearing club chiefs over a conference call.

"Pairoj Piempongsant was getting heated," Cook told the Athletic. "The phone was on the table and he was speaking to Paul Aldridge, who had previously been with West Ham, got himself in a bit of trouble [over the Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano saga], and was also part of Thaksin's world.

"So picture the scene. There's Paul with his London accent: 'Pairoj, you got to tell me what we're doing, it's getting out of control'.

"Pairoj was lying on a chaise lounge, getting a massage, and shouting: 'Yes, yes, yes! Very messy, messy, it's getting messy'. Something got lost in translation and — on my daughter's eyesight, this is the truth — that was misheard as 'we've got to get Messi'."

He continued: "Paul came to me afterwards: 'Garry, this is getting confusing, I don't know what we are doing here'. I said: 'Put the offer in, let's see what we come up with'.

"Then Dave Richards called me the next day from the Premier League: 'Garry, have you put in an offer for Lionel Messi? Seventy million pounds? Are you mad?'"

Incredibly, Barcelona had told Richards that they would have considered the offer had it been genuine.

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