So, big news, eh? Yep, Jamie Vardy’s snubbed Arsenal and agreed a new deal to stay at Leicester, upping his wages to around £100k per week.
Fair play to the guy, I say, because he’s managed to enhance his reputation, increase his take home pay, plus he doesn’t need to worry about relocation for his family, etc. It’s a move that will make him a Leicester legend and the fans will love him for what he’s done by snubbing an obvious step up.
If there’s any Leicester fans reading this right now, I’d imagine I just made you bristle with rage, eh? After all, you guys are the champions, there’s no doubt about that. You’re the ones that did the impossible and under Ranieri’s leadership, you have built a team that outdid everyone else in the league, in a style that many thought couldn’t win. There’s no arguing that.
But there is definitely an argument as to whether Arsenal is a step up. It most certainly is. It would be a challenge for Vardy. He would have to compete for a place and he wouldn’t be a big fish in a small pond any more. He’d have to prove he’s the best. Perhaps he could do that. Perhaps he is better than Welbeck and Giroud. But we’ll never know. The only way we’ll find out if he is, is if he now has another season like last season. If he can do it over a number of years.
I do wonder if he could do it if some of the other stars around him disappear. It’s a great sign of intent and hope for Leicester for Vardy to remain at the club. Will Mahrez and Kante have that same desire if a club comes knocking? If Mahrez had the same choice before him as Vardy did, does he stick or twist? I would guess with the latter. Mainly because both of those players have adopted the “we’ll see” approach when asked about their future. It’ll be interesting to see if Vardy’s decision affects them positively or negatively.
As for Arsenal, there will be many who will greet yesterday’s news with relief because when the announcement came that we’d triggered the clause a couple of weeks ago, I was with a couple of Arsenal fans who screwed their faces up. Vardy had a decent season, but he’s hardly the elite player that we all wanted up front. He’s hardly the guy who got us all talking excitedly. It all felt like we were accommodating the existing players in the team, to make the current strikers feel like they stood a chance of keeping the journey.
After a weekend of discussing with those Arsenal fans, we came around to the idea, because at least the club were acting quickly. At least Arsène was rolling the dice and hey, if Vardy signed then we’d support him, nonetheless. But that’s all it ever was. It was acceptance rather than excitement.
So where does this leave Arsenal now? Beats me. It’s a tad embarrassing, but not really massively, because we all know the detail behind Vardy’s decision. There’ll be a few days of micky-taking from rival fans, but that will subside and as long as the club now make moves on another striker, then we can focus our attention on whoever that might be.
My worry is that if Vardy was first choice, who is further down the line in the choice order? I’d love Arsène to have a serious think about it, then go out and splash more cash on a better version of Vardy, but my fear that it will not be upgrades on Vardy, will only grow if we continue to be linked to players like Mane at Southampton. He’s an erratic player who seems to have as many bad games as good. Why would we want somebody like that? Giroud gets enough stick from some Arsenal fans as it is, imagine what it would be like if we had two hot or cold players, it’d be carnage on some of the online forums. People would be foaming at the mouth!
At least this decision now gives the club an extra week or two to work through other options. Please god let them be doing so and not sitting on their hands. I don’t think I could stomach another season of wondering “if we’d have just not been that one player short, we could have won this league”, as we slowly fall away in the new year.
But hey, the Euro’s are still on, so that’s something to distract us all for a while. I just hope Dickie Law and Arsène aren’t too distracted.
Catch you tomorrow.