Nobody could have envisaged the situation Jamie Vardy finds himself in, not even those optimistic punters who are now basking in the glory of being 5000-1 winners after Leicester City’s triumph against all the odds. Vardy now has one of the most difficult decisions he will ever have to make. Does he leave the current champions of England, or does he hedge his bets and leave in search for ‘long-term’ success at Arsenal?
Reports emerged late on Friday evening that Arsenal had activated a £22 million buy-out clause in Vardy’s contract to poach the striker and bring him to the Emirates. Arsene Wenger was initially hopeful that the move would be completed over the weeken,d but England boss Roy Hodgson has asked Vardy to postpone any decision until after the imminent European Championships have taken place in France. Hodgson’s preference was that there be no distractions in the camp and it looks like Vardy has adhered to Hodgson’s wishes.
With rumours of a £120,000 per week contract on the table should Vardy join the Gunners, it would be a very attractive proposal for a player who turns 30 early next year. One thing is for sure and that is now is the time for Vardy to secure a move, his profile has never been higher and regardless of weather money becomes an issue Arsenal will be a big draw for him.
The bright lights of London will undoubtedly be an attraction for Vardy but it will be interesting to see what decision he makes. Even more so, given his gushing admiration for Lecister when he signed a new four-year contract reported to be worth double the £40,000 he was on at the beginning of the season.
Back in February, Vardy told lcfc.co.uk “I’m absolutely delighted to be fighting to achieve something special with this Club, as part of this squad. I’ve never known a spirit like it – from the owners, to the manager and his staff, the players and the fans. I want to be part of it for a long time.”
Even more interesting is what he says about the club itself. Football is known for it’s knack for shocking its adoring public when players and managers move unexpectedly. Vardy will surely want to avoid a situation that fellow England player Fabian Delph found himself in last summer. Delph famously promised the Aston Villa faithful that they could count on his presence last season before sensationally opting to join Manchester City in a move that enraged the Villa fans.
Whilst Vardy’s switch would not ruffle as many City feathers as it did Delph’s with Villa, Leicester would surely be disappointed that a talent they nurtured would jump ship at the first sign of a club coming in for him. Vardy said when he signed that new contract, that “he would be forever grateful” to the club for all the faith they showed in him and that he “would spend every day working to repay it.
Vardy now has until the beginning of July to start to think about whether he should move to the Emirates and play alongside the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Petr Cech.
The other option of course would be to stay at Leicester, where alongside Riyad Mahrez he would be among the higher earners. It is the decision of a lifetime for a player who has been catapulted into the spotlight and one that isn’t to be taken lightly.