By: Jonathan Asante
Jamie Vardy has revealed why he turned down a high-profile move to Arsenal in the summer transfer window, despite the very real threat of Leicester’s Premier League winning squad getting picked apart by poachers.
Arsenal met Vardy’s £20m buy-out clause before Vardy decided to stay at Leicester and sign a new contract. But whilst representing England at Euro 2016 the striker saw Wenger twice – once during the transfer saga and then again in the aftermath.
Speaking to the Daily Mail Vardy said: “I spoke to him a couple of times at the hotels where we were staying in France. It was just: ‘Hi, are you all right?’ and then walk off to the match. It wasn’t awkward. It was just a simple: ‘Hello, are you OK?’ That kind of thing.”
Despite the lure of a move to one of England’s giants, Vardy opted to stay with a club that he feels connected to in heart and mind.
“I am not going to beat around the bush; every time I thought about it — and I thought about every aspect of it — both my head and my heart were saying to stay, which is why I made my decision.
“Deep down if you don’t think it is the right move for you, you don’t do it. You get that much time, literally, to think about every single thing, right down to the tea-lady. Every time I thought about every little thing, I felt: ‘You need to stay’.”
“I don’t know personally what Arsene Wenger was going to do [tactically] or anything; it was a nice compliment that they wanted to buy me. But my head and heart were saying ‘stay’.”
Despite the media speculation that surrounded the move whilst he was on duty with England at this summer’s European Championships, Vardy insisted that he remained professional and his performances were not affected.
“There was training and getting ready for the games with England — or playing PlayStation in my downtime. In my professional life it was the hardest decision, but I haven’t been a professional that long.”
Wenger instead opted to sign Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Coruna on deadline day for a fee believed to be around the £17m mark as he looked to increase his striking options.