Manchester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez has revealed that he nearly joined Arsenal from Leicester City but the move was scampered by the Foxes who refused to let him join the Gunners.
After leading the King Power side to the English Premier League title in 2016, the Algerian captain attracted interest from clubs across Europe and Arsenal was among clubs that approached.
The former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, was a huge admirer of the midfielder and was keen on bringing him to the Emirates during the 2016 summer.
Leicester City, however, refused to sell him and Mahrez would move to Man City two years later.
“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,” he said.
He said all was nearly sealed before City officials pulled the plug on the move.
‘Leicester blocked me. They told me:’ You’re not leaving, you’re not leaving’.My agent had spoken to Wenger who really wanted me. It was nearly all done with Arsenal in 2016,” he added.
City had to battle the drop the following season and the attacker admits it was frustrating to see his side metamorphosis from League winners to relegation battlers.
“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” he added.