Riyad Mahrez wanted to leave Leicester City two years earlier than when he finally departed for Manchester City.
Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez claims he almost joined Arsenal in 2016 and accused Leicester City of costing him "two years at the highest level".
Algeria international Mahrez was the star turn in the Foxes side that shocked the football world to win the Premier League title in the 2015-16 campaign under Claudio Ranieri.
However, the Foxes struggled in their defence the following season and Mahrez sought a move away from the King Power Stadium.
Mahrez finally got his wish in July 2018 when he joined City for a reported £60million and he won a Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup treble in his maiden campaign.
But the 28-year-old felt he should have been allowed to move on sooner.
Speaking to France Football, Mahrez said: "After the title-winning year, if I was in a top team, it would not have been the same story.
"For me, it is clear that I lost two years at the very highest level. I lost two years!
"Because instead of being at City at 27, I could have been there at 24 or 25. Leicester blocked me. They told me: 'You cannot go, you cannot go!'
"My agent had talked with [Arsene] Wenger, who really wanted to sign me, [and] it was almost done with Arsenal in the summer of 2016... I was really frustrated.
"It's not easy to go from being the PFA Players' Player of the Year to being part of a team fighting for Premier League survival. It's not the same job.
"Everyone is waiting on you and expects you to perform."