Riyad Mahrez claims he was close to joining Arsenal in 2016

Riyad Mahrez, Anthony Knockaert, Jeffrey Schlupp, Jamie Vardy and David Nugent of Leicester celebrate with Daniel Drinkwater after he scores to make it 2-0  during the Sky Bet Championship...

Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez claims that Leicester City blocked his move to Arsenal in 2016.

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City during the UEFA Champions League group stage match between Atalanta and Manchester City at Stadio San Siro, Milan, Italy.

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez spoke to France Football and claimed that he was close to joining Arsenal in 2016 but his former club Leicester City blocked the move.

The Algerian was one of the best players in the Premier League in the 2015/16 season when he helped Leicester City shock the world by winning the title. Mahrez scored 17 goals and provided 10 assists in all competitions that campaign but him staying beyond the end of that season was a surprise.

The Manchester City man has now revealed that fellow Premier League side Arsenal were keen on him that summer but Leicester refused to sell him.


He said: "After the year of the title, if I was in a top team, it would not have been the same story. For me, it is clear that I lost two years at the very highest level. I lost two years! Because instead of being 27 in City, I could have been there at 24, 25 years. Leicester blocked me. They told me: "You do not go, you do not go!"

"My agent had talked with Wenger who really wanted me, it was almost done with Arsenal in the summer of 2016. I was really frustrated. It's not easy to go from being a better Premier League player to being part of a team fighting for support. It's not the same job. Everyone is waiting for you at the turn, everyone falls on you." he concluded.

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City runs with the ball under pressure from Stephan Lichtsteiner of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates...

Arsenal could have certainly benefited with a player of Mahrez's quality on their right-wing. The Gunners have lacked a proper winger in their side until the start of this season when they paid a club-record fee to sign Nicolas Pepe from Lille. 

Mahrez would have been a lot cheaper three years ago but it wasn't meant to be for the Algerian. He is now playing second fiddle to Bernardo Silva at Manchester City where he has two goals and five assists to his name in the Premier League already despite starting just five games. 

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-2 during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Manchester City at Goodison Park on September 28, 2019...

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