Claudio Ranieri has confirmed that Jamie Vardy is still considering an offer to join Arsenal after the north London club agreed to pay his £20million release clause.
Arsenal made a move to sign the 29-year-old just three days before England were due to fly to France for their Euro 2016 campaign. Originally, Vardy told Arsene Wenger that he would make a decision before boarding the plane but failed to do so. It is now believed his decision has been delayed until after the tournament.
The Gunners had offered Vardy a three-year deal worth £120,000-a-week with the option of a fourth year. Leicester, who desperately want to keep the striker, countered the offer with a four-year deal worth £100,000-a-week. Although it may not be enough to keep him at the King Power Stadium, it convinced him to delay his final decision.
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With England's campaign at Euro 2016 underway, speculation has been shoved under the carpet but the fact remains that Arsenal's offer is sitting on Vardy's table, waiting to be either signed or scrapped. Ranieri has since confirmed that the 24-goal striker is still contemplating his future.
"We want to keep him, Arsenal have said they will pay the full release clause, but he hasn’t accepted yet," Ranieri told Sky Italia. "He gets the last word."
80 per cent decided
While Vardy has left his options open, a recent report from the Evening Standard claimed that the former Fleetwood Town star was leaning heavily towards staying in Leicester. Their chief football correspondent James Olley said he was as much as 80 per cent decided.
Vardy is concerned that he would quickly become a bit-part player at the Emirates and could easily fall behind both Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck. Meanwhile, he is a guaranteed starter for Leicester and could write himself into folklore by seeing out his playing days at the club.
Still a chance
But Ranieri appears to suggest that Vardy is still very much split between the two clubs. There is an obvious step up to be taken by joining Arsenal, who regularly compete for both the Premier League title and in the Champions League. At 29, this may also be the last chance for Vardy to join an elite club.
It should also be considered that Vardy has played much of his senior career in non-league football and is, therefore, hardly set for life when it comes to his finances. Arsenal's offer of an extra £20,000-a-week will boost his retirement fund by £1m every year and, while money will not be his primary concern, it will add weight to Arsenal's argument when the time to decide finally arrives.