Arsenal may have blocked Man City's Riyad Mahrez from getting huge Saudi payday


Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez could be prevented from capping off his career with a lucrative stint in Saudi Arabia. And Arsenal may be to blame after securing the future of Bukayo Saka - a player admired by Pep Guardiola, and one who could have been drafted in as Mahrez's ideal replacement out wide.

Mahrez is reportedly a target for Saudi giants Al Ahli, who have already made two major statements this summer by snapping up Roberto Firmino as a free agent and luring in Edouard Mendy from Chelsea.

Having played no part in the finals of the FA Cup or Champions League, Mahrez was said to be 'unhappy' at how last campaign ended. But City boss Guardiola is reportedly in no mood to let him leave, particularly with Bernardo Silva flirting with an exit in the same transfer window.

And Mahrez's chances of a massive Saudi payday were dashed even further when Arsenal secured Saka to a new long-term contract in May.

City were rumoured to be huge fans of the Gunners' 'starboy', and likely would have made an attempt to sign him this summer if Mahrez jumped ship. But with a move for Saka now firmly off the cards, it seems as though the Algerian will have to stay put.

The Saudi Pro League was lacking in star quality just 12 months ago, but mega pay packets have turned the heads of top players since the start of last season, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

The 32-year-old has added four Premier League titles to the one he won at Leicester City since arriving at the Etihad Stadium back in 2018. He was also part of Guardiola's immortal treble-winning side that dominated European football last season.

Mahrez started only 22 of City's Premier League matches last term, and a five-goal return was his lowest in a single campaign since signing for the club.

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