Riyad Mahrez has spoken for the first time about Arsenal’s reported interest in him this summer, claiming he wouldn’t do anything differently.
Arsenal reportedly made a £35 million bid for the Algerian international in August, although both Leicester City and Arsenal deny an offer was made. However, according to the Guardian, Mahrez acknowledged Arsenal wanted his services but he decided against forcing a transfer so as to not disturb his club.
“There was contact with Arsenal,” Mahrez said to Canal Football Club. “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.”
It appeared Mahrez was set to leave the Champions this summer after rejecting a new £80,000 a week contract in July. However, after a meeting with the club’s hierarchy where it became clear the club would not be selling Mahrez, the 25-year old agreed a new four-year deal.
Arsenal shifted targets after their advances for Mahrez were rejected. They ultimately signed 27-year old Spanish striker Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Caruña for £17 million. Perez has played sparsely so far due to fitness and the form of his teammates. The Spaniard does already have two goals in two starts for his new club, though.
It is believed Leicester City and Mahrez have an understanding that if a large bid, reported to be around £40 million, comes in next summer, the player will be allowed to move on. Mahrez signed for Leicester in 2014 for £375,000 from Le Havre.