Former Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez has admitted he regrets losing two years at the top level after the Foxes blocked his exit in 2016.
Now at Manchester City, the Algerian reveal his regret that a move was not sanctioned earlier, leaving him frustrated at the King Power Stadium.
Mahrez’s lost years: Five things to know…
- Riyad Mahrez helped Leicester win the Premier League in 2015/16.
- His efforts had won him the PFA Player of the Year award, attracting interest from Arsenal.
- His agent spoke with Arsene Wenger with a deal almost completed.
- However, Leicester blocked the move forcing the winger to stay.
- Now at Man City, Mahrez has revealed his regret over not being allowed to leave Leicester earlier.
The 28-year-old finally got his big move when Man City agreed to pay Leicester £60m for him in 2018 but the two-time Algerian Footballer of the Year admits he wished a move could have happened a couple of years earlier than it eventually did.
Mahrez told France Football: “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.”
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Man City’s defeat at the hands of Liverpool at the weekend leaves them trailing nine points behind the Reds and also pushed down to fourth following wins for Leicester and Chelsea.
Liverpool fans are trying to keep a lid on any premature title talk, but they have certainly put themselves in an excellent position to bag their first top-flight title since 1990.
Following the international break, Man City host in-form Chelsea while Liverpool travel to London to take on Crystal Palace.