Football

Riyad Mahrez.

Riyad Mahrez explains why he turned down Arsenal

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Having spent approximately £100 million on new additions, Arsenal enjoyed a prosperous summer transfer window - but it could have been so much better.

Granit Xhaka arrived for £35 million in May, the very same figure was splashed on Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez completed a move worth £17.1 million.

And while the trio have all impressed, especially so Xhaka and Mustafi, there's a sense that more money could - and should - have been spent on greater talent.

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Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez was one of many targets to have slipped through Arsenal's fingers, with the Algerian star deciding to stay at the King Power Stadium after a bid in the region of £45 million was made.

He's since remained tight-lipped over why he rejected a move to north London, but in a recent interview with Canal Football Club, he revealed all.

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"There was contact with Arsenal," he said, per Sky Sports. "But Leicester wanted to keep me and I was pretty expensive.

"I did not want to create a conflict when the offer came in.

"Personally, I think it is a good thing I stayed put. It's now up to me to prove myself again."

A number of factors came into play regarding Mahrez's future, then, with Leicester's sheer desire to keep hold of the PFA Player of the Year paying dividends.

Leicester City v Arsenal - Premier League

The 25-year-old has a lot to thank his club for - they signed him from Le Havre for £500,000 in 2014 - and so his devotion to the Foxes shined through.

A part of Mahrez might be regretting not joining Arsenal, though.

While Leicester are flying high in the Champions League, their form in the Premier League has left a lot to be desired: won two, drawn two, lost three and 12th in the table.

His form has taken a dramatic dip, too. Last season, Mahrez scored and assisted a phenomenal 17 and 11 goals respectively in England's top flight, whereas in the 2016/17 term, he's managed just one goal and zero assists so far.

Liverpool v Leicester City - Premier League

But it's an entirely different story in the Champions League, where the Algeria international has scored two goals in two appearances, while assisting another.

It was during last month's 3-0 win over Club Brugge, where Mahrez scored twice, that Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri felt he had finally 'woken up'.

He said: "Maybe the music woke [him up]! Maybe he's tired of dilly-ding, dilly dong and the Champions League music woke him.

"I liked his [performance], he worked very hard."

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Leicester City
Alexis Sanchez
Football
Premier League
Mesut Özil
UEFA Champions League
Theo Walcott
Arsenal

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