Jamie Vardy's decision to reject a move to Arsenal and sign a new four-year deal at Premier League champions Leicester City took many by surprise - especially the Foxes faithful, who had expected their striker to depart for the Emirates, after the Gunners activated the striker's release clause.
However, while Leicester fans are glad to see the England striker stay put, one pundit in particular has criticised the former Fleetwood Town striker's decision to remain with Claudio Ranieri's side, who had been tipped for relegation last season.
The England star missed two good chances in the Foxes' opening-day defeat away to Hull, and The Sun's Shaun Custis says Vardy has passed by a big opportunity to further develop his late fairytale career.
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Speaking on Sky Sports' Sunday Supplement, Custis said: “I just can’t understand why Jamie Vardy would not go to Arsenal.
“You’re never going to repeat what happened at Leicester again. Yes, you’re going to be on a bit of a journey, if you like, with the Champions League, with Leicester, and it’s all going to be great fun.
"But, really, if you aspire to be a top, top, top player you go to Arsenal. And he should have done that, and he hasn’t."
Leicester's involvement in the Champions League this season undoubtedly swayed Vardy's decision to stay, however, it seems unlikely that Ranieri's men will finish high enough in the table this season to compete in Europe's elite competition next season, considering how England's top clubs have invested over the summer.
And Custis believes Vardy will live to regret his decision to turn down Arsene Wenger's Gunners, if PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez does leave for the north London club.
“Maybe he’s regretting, maybe he isn’t. If he sees Mahrez go, before the end of this transfer window, he’s going to be thinking ‘I wonder?’." Custis added.
However, the Sunday Mirror's Chief Sports Columnist hit back and defended Vardy's decision to stay put, saying: “I do think that’s a little bit patronising towards Leicester. They won the title last year.
“Just to say to him that it should be automatic that a player should leave Leicester if Arsenal come calling, I just think is vaguely insulting to Leicester City, who are the Premier League champions.”
But Custis defended his comments, and believes that Vardy has all the quality to make a claim for a regular place in Arsenal's starting line-up, competing with fellow England international Danny Welbeck and France's Olivier Giroud.
Vardy backed for Arsenal
“Given the season Jamie Vardy had, I think he would be backing himself to say: I go into Arsenal, and I will show that I will make Arsenal a better team.
“If you’re that good, you will get a game.”
However, Vardy is staying put and Ranieri will now be desperately hoping there is no late activity in the transfer market, that will see Mahrez, instead, head to the Emirates. Champions League football will likely tempt the Algeria international to stay for another season, but the lure of competing for another Premier League title this campaign could sway the winger's future in favour of Arsenal.
N'Golo Kante is the only key player from last season's shock title-winning campaign that has departed, having joined Antonio Conte's Chelsea. And with Nampalys Mendy and Ahmed Musa having both arrived at the King Power Stadium, Ranieri can be hopeful that his Foxes side can quickly get back to winning ways.
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