Transfer news: £60m star reveals he almost joined Arsenal as player arrives for trial

By on November 12, 2019

The interlull is in full swing but there is still plenty of Arsenal-related news floating around so here are a couple of transfer bits for you to get your teeth in to….

As reported by talkSPORT, Riyad Mahrez has confirmed he almost joined Arsenal in 2016 but Leicester blocked the move before he eventually moved to Man City for £60m two years later.

Mahrez was instrumental in helping Leicester stun the world by winning the Premier League and unsurprisingly he attracted interest from Arsenal after being named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2016.

At one stage a move looked inevitable and Mahrez has confirmed he was close to sealing a transfer to the Emirates after holding talks with Arsene Wenger before Leicester block the deal and forced him to stay at the King Power.

The attacker has expressed his frustration at being denied his move to Arsenal back in 2016 but he eventually got a big move after sealing a £60m switch to Man City in 2018.

He 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.”

Mahrez would have been an excellent signing for Arsenal in 2016 but we failed to sign him and team mate Jamie Vardy so they’ll join the long list of players Wenger ‘nearly’ signed.

Next up and according to TeamTalk, Colorado Rapids midfielder Cole Bassett is spending the week on trail with Arsenal as he bids to try and secure a move to North London.

The report says Bassett will train with the U23s this week but the 18-year-old is hoping to earn the chance to train with the first team and make up the numbers with several players away on international duty.

Bassett says Arsenal are his ‘favourite club’ so he’s delighted to have been given the chance to show what he can do and he’s desperate to learn from such a great club.

According to TeamTalk, Bassett told the Denver Post:

“As most people already know, this is my favourite club, I don’t know which team it will be because it’s an international break for them. Hopefully, there will be a couple of guys missing with the first team and I can get with them. But I’m just excited to get over there and show up basically.

“When Arsenal came over here and played us, you could see there are little things that they do that I just don’t quite have yet. I’m eager to learn from them. Picking up things from every player will help improve my game. It’s going to be a great learning experience.”

Stan Kronke, Arsenal’s much maligned owner, also owns the Colorado Rapids so it looks like the connection between the two clubs has led to Bassett being given an opportunity to have a trial at London Colney.

The teenager is highly rated in the US and Bundesliga side Freiburg tried to buy him last year following a successful trial but Colorado knocked back their proposal in favour of keeping hold of the player.

Bassett has scored two goals and provided one assist in his 20 MLS games this year and was selected for the MLS Homegrown All-Star game. It remains to be seen whether he has what it takes to make it at Arsenal but it sounds like he’s ready to work hard to try and secure a move to the club. Good luck to the lad.