Riyad Mahrez has revealed that he was “50-50” about joining Arsenal in 2016.
Mahrez was reportedly close to joining Arsenal in the summer of 2016 after his performances led Leicester to a miraculous Premier League title.
However, the Algerian stayed at Leicester, and admitted that he doesn’t know what happened between the two clubs.
“I don’t know what happened,” he told the Daily Mail.
“It’s football. You never know what will happen.”
Mahrez had spoken with Arsenal’s chief negotiator Dick Law, while his representatives spoke with Arsene Wenger.
He also described the situation as the closest he’s come to leaving Leicester.
Mahre’z comments would back claims that Arsenal’s interest wasn’t as serious as reported last summer. Arsene Wenger said back in August that we were never close to a deal for Mahrez.
Mahrez was touted as a potential replacement for Alexis Sanchez.
However, despite Mahrez wanting to leave, no move came about. Roma ended up being the only team interested seriously.
With Alexis due to leave the club in January or in the summer, Arsenal will probably be linked with Mahrez again.
Leicester are clearly reluctant to sell him. Mahrez, though, believes he will reach the top before too long.
“They didn’t want to sell me. They said, ‘Yes, (there will be) no problem if something comes up,'” he said.
“But behind the scenes they were blocking stuff — talking to clubs but just not wanting to sell me. But I’m confident. Contract or no contract, I believe I will get to the top. When you have quality, and show it, there’s no problem.”
Mahrez has four goals and four assists for Leicester this season, and is starting to find some form under new manager Claude Puel.
His latest strike was a screamer against Tottenham in a game they won 2-1.