The big Premier League transfer saga of the summer is over before it even really began – how disappointing. Jamie Vardy has officially rejected a move to Arsenal in favour of a new four-year deal with reigning champions Leicester City. Vardy’s decision has brought an abrupt end to one of the most shocking prospective transfers in recent memory – but in reality the England international would have always been out of his depth at the Emirates.
Now an England international and Euro 2016 goalscorer, Vardy’s vote to remain rather than leave for pastures red will delight Leicester fans, particularly given that his goals were an invaluable aspect of the club’s remarkable Premier League title success last season.
At the start of the month, Arsenal sent tremors throughout the Premier League by triggering the release clause in Vardy’s contract. But after holding talks with the England international, the 29-year-old decided against joining Arsène Wenger’s side in a £22m transfer. Instead Vardy will sign a new four-year contract with Leicester, keeping him at the club for the princely fee of £100,000 a week.
Leicester City’s official statement read as follows:
Leicester City have today (Thursday) agreed with the representatives of Jamie Vardy to extend the England international’s contract with the Premier League champions for a further four years.
Both parties hope that this announcement will end recent speculation regarding Jamie’s future and confirm his long term commitment to Leicester City Football Club.
Jamie will continue to focus all of his efforts on trying to achieve success with the England team at the European Championships in France.
There will be no further comment from either the Club or the player on this matter until the conclusion of the tournament.
Fear not Arsenal supporters, do not weep over the transfer that was realistically never going to be – rather take comfort in the knowledge that Wenger is finally on the lookout for a proven goalscorer. This might finally be the window where Wenger finally goes out and signs a forward of high calibre. In reality Vardy was never going to be a good fit at Arsenal anyway…
On the one hand, it’s understandable that Vardy is showing loyalty to Leicester. The striker may well feel indebted to the club after Nigel Pearson took a big chance on him, parting with £1 million to bring him to the club from Fleetwood Town in 2012. In return, Jamie Vardy has brought UEFA Champions League to the club and a give them a title to defend, it’s a story he may not want to walk away from.
Yet at the age of 29, Vardy’s decision to turn down Arsenal almost certainly means he will end his career without playing for one of England’s heavyweight clubs, after certainly showing the potential to do so, even for a three year stint. It was now or never for the Leicester man, he just wasn’t prepared to make that leap.
Leicester’s title winning season will be a one off and sooner or later the likes of Mahrez and Kante will be looking for the exit, but it will be too late for Vardy. At Leicester City, Jamie Vardy is a big fish, at Arsenal he’d be fighting for space alongside many others. Maybe he appreciates that he’s not at a level to compete with the Alexis Sanchez’s and Mesut Ozil’s of the world – it’s better to remain as a big fish in a small Leicester pond.