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Attacker confirms ‘contact with Arsenal’ was made over summer move
Riyad Mahrez has confirmed that Arsenal did hold talks with his camp over a potential summer move but admits he didn’t want to force a move away from Leicester City.
The Algerian international was strongly linked with a move to the Emirates throughout the summer with various reports suggesting that a deal was close to being completed.
French outlet L’Equipe reported in mid-August that after weeks of negotiations, Arsenal had supposedly tabled a huge £43m offer with Mahrez understood to have been keen to make the move to North London.
However, a deal failed to materialise and in the end, the 26-year-old signed a new four-year deal with the Premier League champions and we eventually signed Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Coruna for £17m.
The PFA Player of the Year has now confirmed to reporters that there was indeed an approach from Arsenal but suggests that Leicester were demanding big money for him and he wasn’t prepared to force his way out of the King Power Stadium
Mahrez is quoted as saying by the Mirror:
“There was contact with Arsenal, but Leicester wanted to keep me and I was pretty expensive.
“I did not want to create a conflict when the offer came in.”
So there we have it. We did make a move for Mahrez in the summer but things just didn’t work out. At the time, I was desperate for him to join Arsenal and it would have been interesting to see where the Algerian would have fitted in had we successfully lured him to the Emirates.
The most likely scenario would have seen Mahrez replace Theo Walcott on the right wing but with Theo showing some excellent early-season form, perhaps we saved ourselves at least £40m by not signing Mahrez in the end?!
No doubt he would have been a great signing but we always had players like Walcott with the potential to be great on the right so I’m actually glad we saved our money. It’s just a shame we weren’t able to spend it on a world class striker instead….