Arsenal fans will forever look back at summer 2016 and wonder what might have been given their club failed to prise Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy away from Leicester City.

Mahrez, who now plays for Manchester City, recently revealed how he nearly signed for the Gunners in 2016.

Riyad Mahrez joined Man City in 2018

Getty Images – Getty

Riyad Mahrez joined Man City in 2018

It was just after the Foxes had beaten the odds to win the Premier League title with their top players attracting attention from Europe’s elite.

N’Golo Kante was snapped up by Chelsea while Arsenal were linked to both Mahrez and Vardy.

Vardy has nine Premier League goals against Arsenal in his career

Getty Images – Getty

Vardy has nine Premier League goals against Arsenal in his career

The current City attacker revealed how Leicester blocked his move to north London with the deal verging on completion.

He would later seal a dream move to City in 2018 for £60million.

The Gunners also triggered a release clause in Vardy’s contract, at around £20million, back in 2016.


The Premier League winner considered the offer to join Arsene Wenger’s side but he was concerned over whether their playing style would suit his own.

He went on to sign a new contract with Leicester and has not looked back.

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The Gunners ended the 2016/17 Premier League season in fifth place, one point behind Liverpool in the Champions League places.

Could Vardy and Mahrez made the difference that season? We will never know.

But here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look at how the Gunners could have lined-up that season with the pair in their team.

4-4-2 (Diamond)

How Arsenal could have lined-up with Vardy and Mahrez

Buildlineup.com

How Arsenal could have lined-up with Vardy and Mahrez

In this formation, Alexis Sanchez would partner Vardy upfront with Mesut Ozil playing at the top of the diamond.

Mahrez and Santi Cazorla are on either flank to provide the width while Granit Xhaka is in the holding role.

Vardy would have likely thrived with Ozil, Cazorla and Mahrez providing goalscoring opportunities.

4-2-3-1

How Arsenal could have lined-up in the 2016/17 season

Buildlineup.com

How Arsenal could have lined-up in the 2016/17 season

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, Cazorla and Xhaka are playing in the deeper role with the other four attacking players further forward.

Sanchez was often pushed out to the left at Arsenal and later Manchester United and would provide the supporting role to Vardy.

4-3-3

How Arsenal could have looked in a 4-3-3 formation in 2016

Buildlineup.com

How Arsenal could have looked in a 4-3-3 formation in 2016

This system would see Cazorla in a more central role with Mesut Ozil to support the front three.

Vardy, Sanchez and Mahrez would likely have been a devastating attack for the Gunners.

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