So, in classic Arsenal style, we’ve been inadvertently drawn into another transfer saga. One in which, if we’re all honest, shouldn’t even be something that we’re talking about. Jamie Vardy has done all of his talking, he’s had offer and counter offer in this unusually public courtship for Arsenal, now he finds himself with a decision to make.
And the press are lapping it all up. There’s nothing more that a journo likes, than a “will he/won’t he” saga, and when the saga seems so split down the middle when it comes to his decision on whether to stay at Leicester or join Arsenal, all the better. That way each journalist can take their own slant on the situation. They can provide their own ‘exclusive’ in the hope that they sell a few more papers or get themselves a few more clicks.
I suppose I’m in a similar situation though, by the very nature of what I do, which is blog about the saga. The only difference is that I’m not trying to find an angle with which to get you to buy something. I also don’t profess to have any inside information whatsoever. I don’t know anybody at the club who can give me a ‘scoop’. I’ve been contacted by the club a couple of times about featuring blogs, but that hardly constitutes access to the ‘inner sanctum’.
To be fair to everyone at Arsenal, it appears as though we’ve done all we can in this. Triggered a clause, clause accepted, talk to the player, offer improved terms. It’s all been played out in a very in-Arsenal way, but if Vardy chooses to remain at Leicester, the club can’t really be accused of anything negative I don’t think.
Much like Le Grove said in his blog, I too can’t really look at this situation as anything other than a fan of a top club, and if sense is to prevail you’d expect Vardy to sign for Arsenal. But I guess this depends on what he’s thinking. When you compare the two, Leicester and Arsenal isn’t really a choice that many footballers would bother thinking about too long, with all due respect to the Foxes. Arsenal are a consistent Champions League players, they spend more time towards the top of the division than the bottom, they play in a stadium of 60,000 and have some real elite-level footballers. What Leicester achieved last season was phenomenal. They deserve all the praise they get and they have also ripped up the football cliched rule book that says you don’t win titles the way they did. But can they go any further? Can they win the league again? Can they win the Champions League? With added games through the Champions League, is their squad big enough for multiple competition on all fronts?
Right now the answer is ‘no’. Arsenal aren’t exactly ripping up trees in the Champions League I know, nor did we really challenge for the title at the death, but if you look objectively at both squads, which would you argue is better equipped for a multiple competition assault?
The answer is obvious. The only real question is what Vardy wants. What’s happening here is akin to you working at a medium sized company. You’re doing well, you don’t really want to leave, but a headhunter tells you another blue-chip company wants you. You’re torn because you love the people, the job is great, but for how long will that feel last? When others are moving on due to the fluidity of the labour market, will the place look the same in two years? Or will it be very different. In this scenario the situation is clear. You test yourself. You see how far you can get. You see how good you can be.
If Vardy stays at Leicester then he’s taken the comfortable option. He’s taken the Herzberg hygiene factor and gone for the same job with a bit more cash. Hey, I get that and I understand, have seen it many times in my working life. But in six months time, when we’re deep into the season, if Leicester aren’t repeating what they did but with added pressure of more games, would be look at it and start to question whether he made the right decision? I would.
But hey, maybe some of the conspiracy theories are right, and maybe this is just a PR ploy from Team Vardy. Either way, this is very cleverly played. The Leicester fans will believe he found it difficult to leave and may cut him some slack if he goes, but if he stays he’ll be the player that rebuffed the advances of a big club. He’ll be lauded in the same way Le Tissier was at Southampton. If he decides to go to Arsenal, he’s dragged it out enough that some Arsenal fans are now desparate to see him sign for the club.
I must admit even I just want the deal done now. Although my motives are slightly different. I want the deal done because I’m worried that we’ve shown our hand now. We’re not after an elite striker. We’re after a player who will just provide squad competition for Giroud and Welbeck. That’s not what any of us really wanted originally, was it? I certainly didn’t. I wanted a guy who would come in and be the big man on campus. If we are not going for that and Vardy rejects Arsenal’s advances, who else would we go for that fits the bill?
I have no answers. As usual, I only have questions, but then again if you read my stuff usually you’ll know that. And so we wait. We wait another 24 hours potentially, but at least this saga will draw to a close soon, because Vardy won’t want this going on with the first game at the Euro’s taking place at the weekend.
Let’s see how this one plays out.