Admission to Arsenal transfer from Riyad Mahrez, missed opportunity and blessing in disguise


Riyad Mahrez turned 30 this weekend and celebrated with an assist in Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Arsenal in the Emirates.
The victory allowed the Citizen to maintain their 10-point lead at the top of the Premier League table, ensuring they are still on track to win a third title in four seasons.

Mahrez is an important player for Pep Guardiola at Man City, even though he’s not one of the first names on the Spanish squad sheet.

For a while, the Algerian has been Man City’s most expensive signing, showing Guardiola’s effort to get him off Leicester City.

But by Mahrez’s own admission, things could have been quite different.

Riyad Mahrez turned 30 this weekend

In 2016, the midfielder was linked with a move to Arsenal, and the deal was nearing completion before the Foxes pulled the plug.

Leicester City’s decision to deny him a ‘dream move’ left Mahrez squandering a missed opportunity for some time.

Mahrez told France Football in 2019: “After [winning] the title, if I had gone for a better team, it wouldn’t have been the same story.

“For me, it’s clear that I lost two years at the highest level. I wasted two years! Because instead of arriving in City at 27, I could have been there at 24, 25.

Mahrez won the title with Leicester City

“Leicester blocked me. They said to me: “You are not going, you are not going”.

“My agent had spoken to [Arsene] Wenger who really wanted me. It was almost all done with Arsenal in 2016. I was really frustrated.

“It was not easy to go from being the best player in the Premier League to being part of a team battling relegation.

“It’s not the same job. Everyone is waiting for you around the corner. ”

Mahrez won a lot of silverware at Manchester City
Mahrez won a lot of silverware at Manchester City

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On paper, Manchester City passed Arsenal on Sunday, but the contest was incredibly one-sided and showed the classroom divide between the two sides.

City, as mentioned above, are leaders in the Premier League while Arsenal are a team in transition, floundering in tenth.

Mahrez may have been understandably drained of seeing his big money transfer drop in 2016, but at the age of 30 he will no doubt see it as a blessing in disguise.


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