Arsenal’s transfer plans were thrown out of kilter by Jamie Vardy’s decision to stay at Leicester City, and last year’s Football Writers Association Player of the Year has opened up about why he opted to reject a move to north London.
The Gunners eventually had to settle on Deportivo forward Lucas Perez in their summer search for striker, a player some commentators have likened to Vardy, but one who is surely unlikely to have quite the same impact that the former non-League forward would have had.
Arsenal triggered a release clause in Vardy’s contract in June, but he to the shock of everyone at the club, including Arsene Wenger, he turned them down. Speaking to Sky Sports, Vardy said:
“I am not going to beat around the bush – every time I thought about it, and every aspect of it I thought about, both my head and my heart were saying to stay, which is why I made my decision to stay.
“Deep down if you don’t think it is the right move for you, you don’t do it. It is as simple as that. You get that much time to think about every single thing down to the tea lady.
“You think about what might happen, what might not, where you could be, where not. Every time I thought about every little thing, both head and heart were saying, ‘You need to stay’.”
Loyalty is a rare commodity in football and many will laud Vardy for staying at the club that has made him a household name.
Some have suggested that he was unsure about whether he would lead the line for Arsenal ahead if Olivier Giroud and it seems as if he wanted to stay at a club where legendary status is already assured, but one cannot deny that the Englishman would surely have aided The Gunners’ title charge, with his displays up front offering a different kind of option to any other player currently on the books at The Emirates.
Elsewhere, Mesut Özil has confirmed that he and Arsenal are in talks about a new contract with only two years left to run on his current deal.
Arsenal will be keen to ensure he doesn’t enter the final year of his contract which might force them to consider selling rather than risking the German leaving on a free. Of course, selling the World Cup winner would be a last resort, as his contributions in the final third; primarily through assists, are absolutely vital to Arsenal’s fortunes.
Speaking to German publication Express, the playmaker stated that negotiations were ongoing but were postponed for this summer’s European Championship. This will go some way to calming the fears of Arsenal fans somewhat, but nothing other than seeing the former Madrid man sign on the dotted line will completely allay their concerns.
Finally, according to the Sun on Sunday, Arsene Wenger has told Jack Wilshere that his spell at Bournemouth must work out if he is to revive his Arsenal career.
Wenger reluctantly let Wilshere leave on loan, after the supremely talented midfielder had been left out of Sam Allardyce’s first England squad.
Arsenal have an abundance of riches in central midfield and Wilshere will have to considerably impress to force his way back in, so a full campaign of regular football under Eddie Howe will be vital. The first hurdle to overcome will be proving his long-term fitness, and only once this has been accomplished can we begin to assess his on-field contribution to The Cherries.
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