Riyad Mahrez has revealed he nearly signed for Arsenal in 2016 but Leicester blocked his move to the Emirates.
The Foxes had just done the unthinkable and won their first Premier League title against all the odds, and unsurprisingly many of the top performers were attracting attention from the top flight’s elite.
French midfielder N’Golo Kante, who was instrumental in the title victory, joined Chelsea, while Jamie Vardy was strongly linked with a move to Arsenal.
And Mahrez’s move to north London was seemingly a formality before King Power chiefs prevented the deal from materialising.
He told France Football: “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! Because instead of arriving at City at 27, I could have been there at 24, 25.
Manchester City boss escapes punishment for actions following Liverpool loss
Ronaldo ‘hasn’t dribbled past anyone for years’, claims former Juventus boss
Liverpool boss Klopp’s wife stopped him becoming Manchester United manager
Manchester City are still in title race despite Liverpool loss, talkSPORT told
Stats that prove Red Bull Salzburg’s Haaland is amongst Europe’s best strikers
‘We need to ask questions of Pellegrini’ – Ex-West Ham ace criticises Chilean boss
staying… for now
Arsenal chiefs tell fans that Unai Emery is ‘right man for the job’
Neil Warnock leaves Cardiff City after three years in charge
Work to do
Neville lists players who inspire hope, but reveals what Man United still need
‘It’s made me uncomfortable’ – talkSPORT host defends Emery after ‘ebening’ jibes
Robertson and Alexander-Arnold exchange barbs as team-mates reap rewards
Liverpool in advanced talks over signing Bournemouth ace with swap deal possible
“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.
“It wasn’t easy to go from being the best player in the Premier League to being a part of a team fighting against relegation.
“It’s not the same job. Everyone is waiting for you around the corner.”
Mahrez eventually sealed a dream move to Manchester City after Pep Guardiola decided to splash out £60m to sign him in 2018.
Recalling his first day at the club, he said: “He [Pep Guardiola] was happy first. He said he was very happy to have me here.
“He said we’re going to make big things together with the team.”
Published at Mon, 11 Nov 2019 21:11:20 +0000