Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has explained Jamie Vardy’s reasons for snubbing a move to Arsenal in 2016.
Arsenal made an approach to sign the forward in the wake of Leicester’s incredible title-winning season four seasons ago, Vardy having been named as the Football Writer’s Footballer of the Year after scoring 24 league goals to fire the club to the most improbable of title triumphs.
Vardy would reject the approach in order to remain at the King Power Stadium where he has continued to cement his status as a club legend, and after a prolific start to the new season, he is currently the top scorer in the Premier League with 10 goals from the opening 11 games.
Leicester face Arsenal this weekend in a huge fixture in the race to finish in the top four and ahead of the meeting Rodgers has reflected on Vardy’s decision to reject the North London side, insisting a fear over a lack of playing time at the Emirates would not have been a factor in the forward’s decision to stay.
“The one thing I know from Jamie Vardy is he’s a team player,” Rodgers said at his Thursday press conference. “It’s about the team. Of course he’s a top striker but he loves competition. You see it every day in our working time together.
“He’s the type of guy who’s proven himself all his life, all his career, and he’s proven himself to be one of the top strikers in Europe. It wouldn’t have been because of that [fear of competition], that he didn’t go to Arsenal.
“There were a number of things: he was probably offered a good deal here, felt comfortable here, stable here, his family. It’s an incredible club. Especially with all the paraphernalia around the Premier League. This is a club that’s pure in its community spirit, doesn’t get carried away with all the stuff that the Premier League can bring and he’s the type of guy who will have enjoyed that, being looked after.”
The 32-year-old has arguably been in career-best form over the opening weeks of the new campaign, and has shown no signs of slowing down despite his advancing years.
Having been impressed with the forward’s prolific start, Rodgers added that he is hopeful Vardy will remain a Leicester player for some time to come.
“His best years will be here and if you look at him now there are still a few more to go yet,” he added.
🏆 The Premier League Player of the Month
It's… Jamie Vardy's Award! pic.twitter.com/nZ7QwapDss
— Goal (@goal) November 8, 2019
“He’s still so sharp, clinical, fit – he’ll be 33 in January but he looks after his body. Maybe not having played so much early on in his career is going to help him at the back end of his career.
“Then what he wants to do in a few years’ time, you never know, he might want to play in another country, which he could do. But hopefully he’s going to be here for many more years.”