The Arsenal manager has confirmed that Jamie Vardy will not be joining them, despite the club having triggered his £22 million release clause. Leicester City have reportedly enticed Vardy to stay with a hefty pay raise.
Jamie Vardy had the season of his life in 2015-16, notching up 24 goals and leading Leicester City to the Premier League title. In the process Vardy broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record by scoring in 11 consecutive league games. His domestic success also translated into international heroics as the 29 year old striker featured prominently for England in the Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Premier league giants Arsenal had launched an attempt to bring him to the Emirates soon after the season ended. The Gunners triggered Vardy’s £22 million release clause early in June and this left Vardy with the opportunity to join Arsenal right after Euro 2016. However manager Arsene Wenger has now confirmed that Vardy will stay at Leicester.
“Jamie Vardy is, at the moment, at Leicester and from what I know he will stay at Leicester,” said the Frenchman, according to Metro.
Two days before Wenger confirmed that the move wasn’t happening, Leicester City vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha expressed his confidence that Vardy would stay.
“You will see the news very soon,” he told the Daily Mail. “But I think he will stay.”
This comes after a month of speculation, during which several pundits urged Jamie Vardy to move to the more established club during what is surely the peak of his footballing career. The Englishman joined Leicester City in 2012 for a bargain transfer fee of £1 million. His exploits last season have seen his valuation jump from £2.1 million to £22 million.
Leicester City was well aware that Vardy would attract a lot of interest in the summer transfer window. In February, they tied him down with a new contract worth £60,000 a week that extends till 2019, but the release clause of £22 million provided the Englishman with an option of leaving if he felt that the right club showed an interest in him.
Arsenal proved to be the big name that came calling, as Wenger triggered the Englishman’s release clause to leave Jamie Vardy with a big decision to make. Leicester City countered Arsenal’s bid by offering Vardy a pay raise that would increase his wages to £100,000 a week. However it was widely believed that he would end up joining Arsenal, given the fact that the 29-year old striker’s pace is likely to diminish in the next couple of seasons. It is Vardy’s pace and quickness that is the biggest asset of his game and a footballer’s speed generally diminishes after the age of 30.
This means that this summer could be Vardy’s last chance to become the spearhead of one of the more established clubs in world football. The Englishman has now opted against it judging from the comments coming in from both parties.
Media coverage of Arsenal interest helped Vardy land a raise and remain loyal to Leicester
Even a few weeks back, Arsenal looked set to land Jamie Vardy’s signature. It is every English footballer’s dream to play for a historic and successful club like Arsenal. The Gunners are still considered one of the elite clubs of Europe despite Leicester City being the reigning champions. Several pundits like Alan Smith, Robbie Savage and Thierry Henry even urged Vardy to make the move to the Emirates before it was too late.
However the Englishman would face a huge public backlash if he were to leave Leicester City at this point. The endless media coverage on the move meant that the Leicester heirarchy had to make Vardy an offer to counter Arsenal’s. They had to be seen as making enough of an effort to keep the striker. His wages at Leicester and the fact that Arsenal were going to raise his pay substantially were both made public. The footballing world was realistic enough to consider Vardy’s situation and this left him with enough of a platform to launch negotiations without being seen as an opportunist or disloyal.