Gun­ners eyed me - Mahrez

Riyad con­firms Ar­se­nal tried to sign him

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - BY EL­LIOTT BRETLAND /

Le­ices­ter winger Riyad Mahrez has re­vealed Ar­se­nal tried to sign him in the sum­mer but the Premier League cham­pi­ons re­fused to sell him.

The 25-year-old was wanted by the Gun­ners but ad­mits he was ex­pen­sive and did not want to force through a move.

“There was con­tact with Ar­se­nal,’ Mahrez told 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.”

Mahrez was one of the stars of the Foxes’ ti­tle-win­ning run and scored 18 times in 39 ap­pear­ances last sea­son.

After stay­ing at the King Power Sta­dium, the Al­ge­ria in­ter­na­tional signed a new deal un­til 2020 and scored a brace in Le­ices­ter’s maiden Cham­pi­ons League match against Bruges.

Else­where France de­fender Djib­ril Sidibe also turned down Ar­se­nal this sum­mer fear­ing he would not play reg­u­larly - but has tar­geted a move to Eng­land next sea­son.

The 24-year-old joined Monaco from Lille in July, but only after the Gun­ners failed with a late bid.

“I was on the brink (of sign­ing for Monaco) and (Ar­se­nal) gave me a headache by mak­ing a bid at the last mo­ment,” he told “Le Parisien” on Mon­day.

“After re­flect­ing on it, I was not cer­tain my play­ing time would be guar­an­teed. I would have played maybe 25 games this sea­son, in­clud­ing the cups. They also wanted to use me on the left whereas I want to es­tab­lish my­self on the right.

“I chose to stay in Ligue 1 and then leave for the Premier League next year be­cause it is a com­pe­ti­tion that greatly ap­peals to me.”

Sidibe has started five of Monaco’s eight Ligue 1 games this sea­son and scored after two min­utes in the 4-1 win away to his for­mer club. He has also fea­tured five times in the Cham­pi­ons League.

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