According to former Manchester City chief executive, Gary Cook, the offer was made in 2008 while the club was in the process of being purchased by Sheikh Mansour. Cook copped to the mistake in the directly-named book "The Manchester City Years."

"(An executive) made a comment like: 'It's all getting messy,'" Cook explained. "Via the telephones and other communication lines, this somehow translated into: 'Get Messi.'

"An offer was made for Lionel Messi of about 30 million pounds. Needless to say, it was rejected."

Just imagine if the negotiations had gotten testy.

Ex-CEO: City made accidental Messi bid [ESPN]