A former Arsenal target has just been nominated for the biggest individual prize in world football – the Ballon d’Or.
Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City has been included on the 30-man shortlist of players who could take home the award.
This is a player who Arsenal wanted back in 2016 and how things could’ve been different for the Gunners had they succeeded.
The Algeria international, who wound up joining Man City in a £60 million deal, revealed in 2019 that he ‘almost‘ joined the North Londoners during Arsene Wenger’s reign and was frustrated when then-club Leicester City blocked his move to the Emirates Stadium.
Since joining the Eastlands club, the 30-year-old winger has won six major trophies – including two Premier League titles – and of course, was a runner-up in the Champions League last season.
He could and would’ve been a fantastic ultimate replacement for Alexis Sanchez, who joined Manchester United 18 months after Arsenal’s interest in the winger.
Wenger wound up losing Sanchez on a free and getting Henrikh Mkhitaryan in return.
But given that the Armenia attacker only managed nine goals in 59 games for the Emirates Stadium outfit in all competitions, you could easily argue that the Red Devils got the better end of that deal.
Mahrez has no hope of winning the Ballon d’Or, despite the nomination.
But the fact that he’s in the conversation, at the age of 30, shows what a blinding deal Arsenal missed out on under Wenger.