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What Mahrez said about 2016 Arsenal interest

In an early contender for one of the most surprising transfer rumours of the summer, Arsenal are reportedly interested in Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez.

The Daily Mail reported this week that the Gunners are keen on both Mahrez and Raheem Sterling.

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And it was suggested that the Cityzens are open to selling both players. It was reported that Pep Guardiola is plotting a potential overhaul of his current squad.

The Mail noted that Mikel Arteta worked with both players while with Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.

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However, the report suggested that there are doubts over the Gunners’ ability to land either player.

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As noted by BBC Sport, Mahrez cost the Premier League champions £60 million. Spotrac meanwhile, shows that he is earning £120,000-a-week.

So it certainly seems unlikely at this stage that either player will be ending up at the Emirates.

But should Arsenal make an offer City are willing to accept, perhaps Mahrez would be open to making the switch.

It is not the first time the Algerian has been linked with Arsenal. In fact, back in 2019, he opened up on interest from Arsene Wenger three years earlier.

“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,” he told France Football.

“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.”

Arsenal move highly unlikely, but perhaps Mahrez would not rule it out

Of course, much has changed in the five years since Wenger came calling.

Mahrez has obviously left Leicester for Manchester City. Arsenal meanwhile, had just finished second in the Premier League behind the Foxes in 2016.

Arteta’s men finished closer to mid-table this past season. And the Spaniard is yet to really silence his doubters.

It is incredibly difficult to see Mahrez moving to Arsenal anytime soon. But perhaps it cannot be completely ruled out either.

Some very strange things can happen in the transfer window.

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