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Riyad Mahrez laments failed transfer to Arsenal in 2016

Mahrez laments failed transfer to Arsenal in 2016
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Riyad Mahrez opens up about how a move to Arsenal was "nearly all done" following Leicester City's Premier League triumph in 2016.

Riyad Mahrez has opened up about how a move to Arsenal was "nearly all done" following Leicester City's Premier League triumph in 2016.

The Algeria international was heavily linked with a move away having played a crucial role in the Foxes winning the title, scoring 17 goals in 37 league appearances over the 2015-16 campaign.

Two summers later, Mahrez was finally granted his move, joining Manchester City for a fee of £60m ahead of last season.

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."

N'Golo Kante, one of the stars of Leicester's triumphant campaign, was granted a move to Chelsea very soon after the club lifted the title in 2016.

Mahrez finds himself playing catch-up with his former club after Leicester's 2-0 win over Arsenal on Saturday took the Midlands side up to second in the Premier League table.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool16151040142646
2Leicester CityLeicester16122239102938
3Manchester CityMan City16102444192532
4Chelsea169253124729
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd166642519624
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves165922319424
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs166553023723
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd165741916322
9Arsenal165742424022
10Crystal Palace166461418-422
11Newcastle UnitedNewcastle166461723-622
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton165472024-419
13Burnley165382129-818
14Everton165291928-917
15Bournemouth164481824-616
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham164481828-1016
17Aston Villa164392328-515
18Southampton164391835-1715
19Norwich CityNorwich1632111734-1711
20Watford16169930-219

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