Understand that Arsenal have triggered the release clause in Jamie Vardy’s contract. Leicester still determined to keep hold of him.
— Stuart James (@StuartJamesGNM) June 3, 2016
This was how it began.
And moments later, what started out as a rumour was confirmed by ‘Arsenal Transfer Oracle’:
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) June 3, 2016
In case you haven’t heard or you have heard but still trying to make sense of it all, I will make it plain: Arsenal have triggered the release clause of Jamie Vardy and are hoping to complete the deal in the next 24 hours. That’s before the player travels with England to France for Euro 2016.
Vardy’s exploits for Leicester last season were well documented. The striker was a constant menace to every defence he faced. We were also a victim of the striker’s lethal power last season – scoring thrice against us in both games although he was on the losing side on both occasion. Simply put, defenders had no answer to him. It is quite easy to dismiss his achievements, but the underlying fact is that each team who faced him made special arrangements, or tailored their instructions, to face off against the England striker.
What actually made this Vardy deal a surprise is the fact that this in all way does not look a transfer Arsene Wenger will sanction. Vardy is 29 and will probably have no resale value by the time his contract is up. Having said that, we can’t ignore the fact that the English striker would be a great addition to the sqad. The question however is do we really need him? How will he adapt to Arsenal’s style of play? Can he curb his ‘cheaty’ nature?
It is true that Vardy is the striker Theo Walcott was meant to become at Arsenal. Not just fast but rapid, the Leicester City forward is also more robust, more tenacious, a more industrious presence off-the-ball when pressing defenders and looking to peel off and take up a new, more dangerous line to pierce the opposition’s back-line from an angle. A prolific and consister player, Vardy offers other services when not banging the goals in.
One area Arsenal suffered last season was in scoring goals. In Mesut Ozil, we have the EPL’s chief chance creator with 144. He however had 19 assists to his name. Imagine what would have happened if he had a prolific poacher ahead of him. The logic is simple: Vardy scores goals, Arsenal need goals. In Vardy, we will be getting a player who chance conversion rate is at par with Aguero and far better than Kane’s. Vardy is pacy and will latch on to any ball playedin behind the defence. Ozil’s assist rate might double if Vardy eventually joins.
Vardy’s arrival no doubt will cause a lot of formation headache for the fans and most importantly for Arsene. Do we play him alone upfront? Arsenal retains the ball a lot, so, Vardy might not be used to playing against packed defences. Do we pair him? If yes, who do we pair him with? Giroud? Alexis? Welbeck? Theo? Aubameyang? Lewandowski? The list is endless.
At 29 years, it is obvious that Vardy might not have a lot of years more ahead of him – 3 years at most. This makes the deal more about the now than future. He may not be the player we want, but he’s what we actually need. After all, a certain Ian Wright joined the club at a similar age and went on to become the club’s record goalscorer. Don’t expect the same heights from Vardy, but don’t for a second start to think he is too old to to command a £20m outlay.
So Arsene, get the deal done ASAP.