Arsenal offered “a lot of money” in an attempt to lure Jamie Vardy away from Leicester City, former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has revealed. Asked how close he came to capturing the front man.
Arsene Wenger said “I offered him a lot of money at the time. But Leicester had just won the championship in 2016 and Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha (the club’s late owner) at the time did absolutely not want to lose him. Leicester offered him a longer contract and approximately the same amount of money, if not more.”
And while some doubted whether Vardy would have fit in with Wenger’s style of play had he made the move, the Frenchman is certain he would still have been a big hit.
Arsene Wenger said “Yes, because we had more of the ball than Leicester did. But I think still around the box, the timings of his runs, he finds the space to go. When you see the big strikers they are on the move when the others stand still in the box, and he has that. You see with these strikers, they read the game earlier than others. They anticipate better, they understand quicker than other people what’s going on, and that quality of anticipation and that speed of understanding makes him the player he is. The timing of his runs, he is spot on every time. In a Leicester team who were struggling in the first half against Liverpool, he still created three chances. The quality of his runs are exceptional, and of course he is a good finisher as well. When you speak about giving boys a chance, this guy played at Fleetwood Town until the age of 27, and the impact he has now in the Premier League – the best league in the world – it’s absolutely unbelievable! Jamie Vardy is an animal – he’s always in the game. He looks like he doesn’t get out of the game, mentally, and the great strikers are like that. They are convinced they will score at some stage. And that allows him, even when he misses a chance, to stay in the game.”
The Foxes striker took his tally for the season so far to 14 goals in all competitions as he helped his team to a 3-1 win over Liverpool this afternoon. But it could all have been so very different if Wenger had got his way. Arsenal tried to sign Vardy after he helped Leicester to their historic title success in 2016, but he snubbed their advances and penned a new deal with the Foxes instead.
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