Riyad Mahrez admits failed Arsenal move “nearly all done”

The Man City winger Riyad Mahrez gave the assist to Raheem Sterling for their early goal against Arsenal at the Emirates last weekend, but it could have been so different if Arsene Wenger had persuaded Leicester to sell the Algerian international back in the summer of 2016.

Mahrez had just won the Premier League title, and was named the PFA Player-of-the-Year and the Algerian player of the year, and would have improved the Gunners immensely if we could have secured his services.

We all knew about Arsenal being linked with Mahrez and his team-mate Jamie Vardy, but here we have proof from the horses mouth how close he came to being a Gunner. In an interview with FranceFootball back in 2019, Mahrez said: “After [winning] the title, if I’d left for a top team, it wouldn’t have been the same story.

Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (L) jumps to head home the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium. / (Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“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.”

Mahrez finally ended up with a dream move to Man City, where he has won many trophies, but you never know, if Arsenal had got both him and Vardy that summer, maybe we could have gone on to win the title.

Who knows…

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Tags Leicester mahrez Wenger

9 Comments

  1. Goonster says:

    We are a “Nearly signed so and so” club.
    🥱

  2. Highbury Hero says:

    We really have a galacticos of nearly signed. Thanks Wenger.

  3. Wyoming says:

    Leicester had lost Kante to Chelsea so Mahrez had to wait. Arsenal would not pay the 50mill asking price any way. Arsenal instead bought Xhaka 30m Asano Holding Kelechi Perez 17m and Mustafi for 36m and sold Serge Gnabry for 5m. Leicester made 86 million pound profit after they sold Kante and Mahrez. Then 37m for Drinkwater to Chelsea. Now Leicester are in 3rd while Arsenal sit 11th and City are first again. Mahrez was lucky he did not join Arsenal.

  4. PJ-SA says:

    Personally I’m glad we didn’t get him, I don’t rate him at all. He is a 1 trick pony.

    1. Jim wall says:

      Can’t understand how we are so poor in the market we loose players for free or next to nothing eg.. Koschelnia, mustafi, sok, kolas soon, Ramsey, Sanchez, ozil, many more,
      And pay over the odds for mustafi, sok, xakai, peppe, lacca,

      1. John Ibrahim says:

        Well we need a good closed and negotiator

        Dein used to the job well

        Raul is another good closer with heaps of contact

        but they are gone

  5. jon fox says:

    I have little time for “what ifs”, as they are not reality.

    I am only interested in what has happened and ALSO what will happen. “What ifs” are for fantasists and children!

    1. pires says:

      In french they say: “avec des SI on mettrait Paris en bouteille” with IFs we would put Paris in bottel

  6. Shaban Abbed says:

    Arsenal will stabilise if really sign players it needs other than hitting on them just.

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