Arsenal News: Riyad Mahrez reveals his frustration over 'lost years' after Leicester City blocked his Gunners transfer in 2016
What's the story?
In case you didn't know...
Mahrez emerged as one of the most sought-after players following his significant influence in Leicester City's unlikely Premier League-winning squad back in 2016. The winger's efforts during the fairytale campaign helped him to the PFA Player of the Year award and earned him a massive amount of admiration from varied European powerhouses.
Following the Foxes' domestic triumph, the Algeria international was keen on a departure from the King Power Stadium as he sought a fresh challenge elsewhere. However, the club prevented him from leaving for two years despite heavy interest from clubs such as Arsenal.
The 28-year-old was believed to have been incredibly close to a Gunners switch after his agent met with the club's then-manager Arsene Wenger. However, Leicester City blocked the move by refusing to sanction his sale.
Mahrez eventually secured his big move when Manchester City paid £60 million for his services in the summer of 2018.
The heart of the matter
Mahrez has expressed regret at the lost opportunity that came in the form of the Arsenal transfer and believes he lost two good years at the highest level as a result.
"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 cannot go, you cannot go!' My agent had talked with [Arsene] Wenger, who really wanted to sign me, [and] it was almost done with Arsenal in the summer of 2016... I was really frustrated.
"It's not easy to go from being the PFA Players' Player of the Year to being part of a team fighting for Premier League survival. It's not the same job. Everyone is waiting on you and expects you to perform."
Mahrez is now a two-time Premier League champion with Manchester City and has made 14 appearances for the club in all competitions this season.
The Manchester giants will return to action after the international break when they face Chelsea on November 23rd.