It’s been some rise to the top for Jamie Vardy. The striker sets off for France to play for his country in Euro 2016 safe in the knowledge that he is a wanted man.
Arsenal are willing to meet the £20 million pound release clause Vardy has with Leicester City. That in itself is a vote of confidence in the man whose goals ensured Leicester won the Premier League.
There’s no shortage of people in and outside of the game offering Vardy advice on what he should do next. I may as well join them, writes Vernon Grant.
It’s time to move on Jamie. Go now!
I’ve heard much talk of loyalty. Of how Vardy should stay for another year as he owes Leicester City a debt of gratitude and that he should be loyal to the Foxes.
Now I am all for loyalty but, as we know, football is a stranger to loyalty these days. It works, or rather doesn’t, both ways. Clubs are not loyal to footballers or managers when it suits. While many modern day footballers are fickle, the fact is that Jamie Vardy has more than paid back Leicester City for rescuing him from lower league football. The club would not have defied the doubters and won the Premier League but for his goals.
Jamie Vardy doesn’t owe Leicester City a thing.
He may decide to stay. But he may soon regret it. Champions League football is his regardless. At Arsenal he has the opportunity to win the Premier League title once again. Leicester City will not be repeating that fine achievement, with him or without him.
Arsenal are also rumoured to be preparing a bid for Vardy’s influential Leicester colleague, Riyad Mahrez. For me he was the most pleasing to watch player in the Premier League last season. And another bargain buy by Leicester.
Jamie Vardy, meanwhile, could win honours with Arsenal and he would be managed by one of the most respected coaches in the world (other than by Arsenal supporters).
The Sheffield born Vardy began his youth career with Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls released him at the age of 16. Between 2007 and 2012 he played non league football. Leicester City have the chance to cash in and make a huge profit on a player they signed from the then non league Fleetwood Town for a record non league transfer fee of £1 million.
Vardy has much more to gain than lose by moving to work with Arsene Wenger.
Indeed, it’s Wenger and Arsenal that would be taking a calculated risk. Vardy has proved he can score goals in the top flight, providing he gets the right service. But opposing clubs now know he is a serious threat and he will be a marked man next season.
Vardy will be offered more money by Arsenal and will play alongside better players. Leicester City will miss him, but the club will never again receive a bigger offer for the services of a 29 year old. For Vardy and Leicester it’s a win-win situation.
For Arsenal, signing Vardy is a gamble. A possible last roll of the dice for Arsene Wenger.