Leicester star Riyad Mahrez has finally broken his silence on whether there was any contact from Arsenal at the end of Leicester’s last campaign, where they were crowned Premier League champions. Mahrez, who was named the PFA player of the year last season for his stellar contribution towards Leicester’s title win, told media outlet Canal that Arsenal were indeed interested in signing him.
“There was contact with Arsenal,” the 25-year-old said. “But Leicester wanted to keep me and I was pretty expensive. I did not want to create a conflict when the offer came in.”
After last season, it was widely expected that both Mahrez and his record-breaking teammate Jamie Vardy would leave the reigning champions to look for a new challenge at a bigger football club, with both being the subject of a long winding summer transfer drama involving Arsenal. However, in the end, both stayed committed to Leicester to lead the team’s charge in its first ever season in the UEFA Champions League.
Speaking to Canal (where Mahrez has explicitly mentioned particular interest from Arsenal for the first time), he added, “Personally, I think it is a good thing I stayed put. It’s now up to me to prove myself again.”
The Algerian eventually signed a new and improved deal with Leicester until June 2020 on 17th August and has netted three times in ten matches across all competitions so far this season. He is one of the top earners at the club along with Jamie Vardy, earning up to £100,000 a week.
After signing the deal in August much to the delight of Leicester fans, Mahrez also spoke about his loyalty towards the club one day before their Premier League clash with Arsenal earlier in the season. He said, “I’m happy to continue my adventure with Leicester City. It’s been a pleasure to be here for the last two and a half years, so I’m going to keep going here.”
“Last season, we achieved the best thing we could in England – we did an amazing season. It was important to keep the players to keep the same spirit. Our football has a lot of energy, so if all the players keep their mentalities right, I think we can do something good this year too,” he went on to add.
Leicester next face Chelsea in the Premier League after the international break on 15th October, and then play FC Copenhagen in their UEFA Champions League fixture four days later on 19th October.
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