Manchester City forward Riyad Mahrez has opened up about how a move to the Emirates Stadium was “nearly all done” following Leicester City’s title-winning season.
The Algeria international was strongly linked with a move away from having played a vital role in the Foxes claiming the title, where he has managed to found back of the net 17 times in 37 league games over the 2015-16 season.
Two summers later, Algeria international forward was finally granted his move, joining the Citizens for a fee of £60m ahead of last campaign.
Speaking in an interview with France Football, Mahrez said: “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. 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.”
French star N’Golo Kante, one of the stars of the Foxes triumphant season, was granted a move to Stamford Bridge very soon after the club claimed the trophy back in 2016.
Algeria international forward finds himself playing catch up with his ex-club after Leicester City secured a 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday took the Midlands side up to second in the English top-tier.