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.body check tags ::