Whether Jamie Vardy is a Leicester City or Arsenal player next season depends entirely on the player.
In the wake of Arsenal triggering the striker’s £20 million release clause, the Premier League champions have made a counter-offer in a desperate bid to keep the 29-year-old.
The BBC’s David Ornstein reported today that Vardy is expected to make a decision today, although that claim has been contradicted by the Leicester Mercury.
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The Mercury believe Vardy will take a few days to mull over his future as he prepares to represent England at Euro 2016.
That won’t please Roy Hodgson - who is believed to have wanted all potential dealings sewn up before his squad left for France - but a move as big as this requires some deliberating.
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Should Vardy leave, many reckon Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante will follow suit. The trio were arguably Leicester’s three most important players last season and to see them all depart would render the Foxes’ bid to retain the title almost impossible.
Claudio Ranieri would be able to sign players to fill the gaps left by Vardy, Mahrez and Kante, but would they be able to replicate the trios production? Unless Lionel Messi, Neymar and Sergio Busquets arrive, the answer to that is almost certainly no.
So Leicester’s hopes for next season appear gloomy. Champions League football will make it a memorable season regardless, but they will do well to qualify for Europe again.
Relegation odds have been slashed
In a clear sign that many expect Ranieri’s team to struggle next season, betting company bet365 have been forced to slash their odds on the Foxes being relegated.
According to Goal, the bookmaker has received 1,500 bets on Leicester being relegated. And that’s just since news broke of Arsenal’s interest in Vardy.
The online firm has cut prices not once, but twice. Steve Freeth, who works for bet365’s media team, said: “The plunge on Leicester has been relentless since Friday night with 40/1 and 33/1 being gobbled up and our 25/1 is still attracting attention.”
Mahrez could join Vardy at Arsenal
That price will continue to get shorter if the rumours linking Mahrez with the Gunners intensify. The Sun reported yesterday that Arsenal are targeting the Algerian to unite last season’s dynamic duo together at the Emirates Stadium.
One player who is bracing himself for Vardy’s exit is Shinji Okazaki, the Japan forward admitting that, despite their recent triumph, Leicester “don’t have the resources to stand toe-to-toe against the big clubs.”
“It is difficult to say what I would do if I were in his position,” Okazaki told the Japan Times.
“Arsenal have not won the league for a long time and that is maybe a dream (Vardy) has. He has won the league with Leicester and if he led Arsenal to the title rather than try and help Leicester defend it, then his stock would rise even further.”