Riyad Mahrez Reveals How Close He Was to Leaving Leicester City After Title Winning Season

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Leicester City talisman Riyad Mahrez has revealed in an interview with The Daily Mail how close he came to leaving the Foxes in 2016.

The Algerian had played a fundamental part in Leicester's fairy tale Premier League winning season in 2015/16, winning the PFA Player of the Year award in the process.

His performances led to intense speculation surrounding clubs wanting to sign the Algerian winger, with Arsenal believed to be the frontrunners in signing Mahrez that summer. 


In the interview, Mahrez said: "I wanted to be transparent, not play people around and be honest about it.

"They didn't want to sell me. They said, 'Yes, (there will be) no problem if something comes up.

"But behind the scenes they were blocking stuff - talking to clubs but just not wanting to sell me."

Mahrez claimed he was '50/50' in leaving the Foxes after 2016, even meeting Arsenal's chief transfer negotiator, Dick Law at the time, whilst his representatives met with Arsene Wenger over a proposed move. 


A move failed to materialise however and whilst he and Jamie Vardy remained at Leicester, N'Golo Kante was allowed to leave for Chelsea the following season for £32m, in what was the only significant departure of that title winning side. 

Speaking about Kante's departure, he said: "N'Golo had a clause and when he left they stopped those clauses. 

"They said they would never give one to anyone after that."

Mahrez, now managed by Claude Puel, has seen his performances improve in recent week, with his glorious winner against Tottenham on Tuesday a glimpse of the quality he is capable of producing. 

The 26-year-old is content in the Midlands at the minute, although his desire to play with Europe's elite is a dream he still harbours presently. 

"I believe I will get to the top. When you have quality, and show it, there's no problem."