Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez has revealed he was close to joining Arsenal back in the summer of 2016, however his old side Leicester refused to let him leave.
Mahrez played a crucial role in the Foxes’ insane Premier League title-winning campaign during the 2015/16 season, as he scored 17 and assisted 10 in 37 games to help guide his old side to their first ever PL title.
Following this season, interest in the Algerian was undoubtedly rife, as he was linked with a move away from the King Power a number of times during the summer window.
And it seems like now, he came ever-so-close to joining the Gunners during that same window, however he was denied a move by his old side.
According to France Football, as translated by the Sun, Mahrez has spoken about his time at Leicester back in 2016, stating “After the title, if I’d left for a top team, it wouldn’t have been the same story. For me, it’s clear that I lost two years at the highest level. I lost two years!”
Mahrez then went on to add “Leicester blocked me. They told me: ‘You’re not leaving, you’re not leaving’. My agent had spoken to (Arsene) Wenger who really wanted me. It was nearly all done with Arsenal in 2016. I was really frustrated.”
Since then, Mahrez has moved to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, with the Algerian helping the club win their second straight PL title last season, scoring seven and assisting four in 27 league outings.
The Algerian has managed to maintain his reputation as one of the best wingers in England despite having limited play time at the Etihad, something that makes us think he could’ve easily been a big hit at Arsenal should he have joined the Gunners three years ago.
Mahrez, who’s valued by Transfermarkt at £54M, would’ve given the Gunners a quality option to choose from out-wide had he moved to the Emirates, one that could’ve replaced Alexis Sanchez after he moved to Man United in January 2018.
However, it seems like it just wasn’t meant to be…