PARIS: Jamie Vardy has solved one headache for England manager Roy Hodgson by delaying consideration of a transfer from champions Leicester City to Arsenal until after Euro 2016 – whenever that may be.
Vardy’s goals spurred Leicester to a stunning Premier title success and prompted Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to launch an early-summer bid for the 29-year-old. The striker signed a three-and-a-half year contract extension in the middle of last season and the Gunners have trigged the £20m buyout with an offer believed to be around £22m.
Wenger had hoped to have his swoop secured by the start of the week but Arsenal, who had been expecting an answer on Monday, were disappointed. Vardy had assured Hodgson, since England set up camp in Chantilly, that he is prepared to put his own interests on hold in the national interest.
Hodgson had warned his players that he did not want anyone distracted by contract or transfer talks and that uninvited guests – ie agents – would not be welcome.
The problem this creates for Arsenal is that Wenger must decide whether he can gamble on waiting for Vardy or pressing his interest in a striker elsewhere. Juventus’ Alvaro Morata is another possible target though Arsenal would face competition from Chelsea in trying to sort out a complex deal which would also involve Real Madrid as go-between.
Vardy scored 24 goals in the Foxes’ triumphant campaign, built on his attacking understanding with Riyad Mahrez, who has been linked with Arsenal in the past.
Gary Lineker, the former Leicester and England striker, wants Vardy to stay and enjoy the Champions League ride as a certain starter with Claudio Ranieri’s side rather than a sometimes-starter under Wenger. On Twitter Lineker wrote: “Stay with the Champions @vardy7 don’t join the perennial also-rans.”
The former Halifax and Fleetwood striker has enjoyed a remarkable late rise to the top of the game. He signed a three-and-a-half-year contract extension with Leicester only in February as the club rewarded him for driving their title bid.
Vardy was playing for non-League football for Stocksbridge Park Steels until 2010 and team-mates including Robert Huth are reported to have tried to persuade him not to split the Foxes at such an important time in the club’s history.
Whether Vardy will be a starter for England against Russia depends on what tactical shape Hodgson prefers. A diamond appears his current favourite. The only injury issue has concerned Ryan Bertrand who missed training with a calf injury which means Danny Rose will play leftback against Russia.