Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez has announced he was close to signing Arsenal back in the summer of 2016. However, his old side Leicester declined to let him leave.
Mahrez played a crucial role in the Foxes’ insane Premier League title-winning season during the 2015/16 campaign, as he netted 17 and assisted 10 in 37 matches to help guide his old side to their first-ever PL title.
Following this campaign, interest in the Algerian was undoubtedly rife, as he was linked with a transfer away from the King Power several times during the summer window.
And it looks like now, he came ever-so-close to joining the Gunners during that same window. However, he was denied a transfer by his old side.
France Football reported that Mahrez spoke about his time at Leicester back in 2016, declaring “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 reply “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 transferred to Pep Guardiola’s Man City, with the Algerian helping the club win their second straight Premier League title last season, netting seven and assisting four in 27 league outings.
The Algerian has led to maintaining his reputation as one of the best wingers in England notwithstanding 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 signed the Gunners three years ago.