Riyad Mahrez has revealed his regret that his 2016 move to Arsenal fell through because Leicester blocked him from leaving.
The Foxes had just won an incredible first Premier League title against all the odds, but that began a splitting up of their talented squad.
N’Golo Kante moved to Chelsea, Jamie Vardy was also strongly linked with a switch to the Gunners, while Mahrez was seemingly already through the door at the Emirates.
But according to the Algeria international attacker, Leicester put their foot down and prevented him from leaving – a decision Mahrez describes as “frustrating”.
Mahrez 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 eventually got a dream move to Manchester City after Pep Guardiola’s side splashed out £60million to bring him to The Etihad.
Reminiscing on his first day at City, Mahrez added: “He [Guardiola] was happy first. He said he was very happy to have me here.
“He said we’re going to make big things together with the team.”