Manchester City winger, Riyad Mahrez, has claimed that he “lost two years” of his career, as Leicester was reluctant to sell him to Arsenal in 2016.
The highly-rated Algerian winger had wanted to leave the King Power Stadium following a stunning English Premier League triumph in 2016 but his former employers, Leicester, refused to let him join Arsenal as they prized him way above Arsenal's offer.
Mahrez’s significant attributes for Leicester City in 2016 earned him the PFA Player of the Year award and many top clubs across Europe sought his signature.
Arsenal was among those keen to make a move, but Leicester had refused to sanction his move to Emirate. Instead, they made it clear to Mahrez that he would be going nowhere.
In the summer of 2018, he was finally released when City paid £60 million ($77m) but a couple of seasons competing at the highest level had already passed for Mahrez, as Leicester did not play European competitions for the English Premier League title.
"After the title, if I'd left for a top team, it wouldn't have been the same story,” Mahrez told ‘France Football’ during an interview.
"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."