Jamie Vardy explains why he rejected Arsenal to extend contract at Leicester City
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy explained why he made the decision to reject Arsenal’s overtures this summer and stay at Leicester City. The Gunners are in the market for a striker and had approached the Foxes to prise the 29-year-old away from the club but failed in their bid.
Instead, Vardy had decided to stay on at the King Power Stadium and even extended his contract with the defending Premier League champions. In spite of the higher wages on offer at the north London club, Vardy signed a new contract extension at Leicester that would see him stay at the club until the end of the 2019/20 season.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Vardy explained how he was tempted to join the Gunners but ultimately decided to stay put as he had “unfinished business” at the club. The side overcame 5000/1 odds to clinch the Premier League title with two games to spare and now find themselves in Pot 1 of the Champions League this season.
“It's not been put out there that I have always said the boys, the close-knit brotherhood, is unbelievable and for me, there's a lot of unfinished business here,” Vardy said.
“I feel that the club is only going one way and that is forward, that’s why I want to be a part of it.”
When asked about the decision to stay on instead of joining Arsenal, Vardy said it was an easy decision. The striker was on international duty at the time as England progresses to the knockout stages of Euro 2016 before they were dumped out of the tournament by Iceland in the Round of 16.
“It wasn’t that big when I think about it,” he said about the decision. “It was quite easy and this is where I want to be.”
Leicester squad want Mahrez to stay: Vardy
While Vardy decided to stay and extend his contract, it was not the same with his teammate N’Golo Kante. The midfielder was a crucial cog in the side that swept teams aside on their way to the title but eventually moved to Chelsea for a transfer fee in the region of £30m in spite of the absence of Champions League football at Stamford Bridge this season. According to Kante, the opportunity to work with a coach like Antonio Conte was “simply too good to turn down.”
Similarly, Riyad Mahrez is also linked with a move away from Leicester in spite of Claudio Ranieri’s insistence that the Algerian winger was happy at Leicester. “Only Kante wanted to go; that’s okay,” Ranieri had said. “But I understood him, he came from a little team in France and had a fantastic season. I said to him stay with us and have another year with us but he wanted to go.”
Arsenal have been heavily linked with the 2015/16 PFA Player of the Year and Vardy only hoped Mahrez would stay. But he also mentioned that it was up to Mahrez to make the final decision as he discussed his options with the club.
“I think everyone in the squad would want him here, playing with us,” Vardy said. “But that's nothing to do with us and it's down to Riyad and the club to sort out.”