Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy looks on course on to join Arsenal this summer in a deal worth around £29M, and there are growing fears his sale could spark a domino effect with a number of other coveted players.
City manager Claudio Ranieri had been desperate to retain the key players from last season’s shock Premier League title triumph, but might struggle to convince Vardy’s teammates to stay if their talisman has sought greener pastures.
Players non-committal due to Leicester’s glass ceiling
Leicester City have had to deal with speculation in the last few months of the 2015/16 Premier League season, but their worst fears are becoming realised with Vardy all but out the door. The 29-year-old signed a new deal with Leicester in February 2016, which seemingly came with clauses not revealed to the public at the time.
Vardy was enjoying an outstanding season for top-of-the-table Leicester City, and could well have signed a deal that would mean the Foxes would maximize his profits on the basis that he helped them make history in the title race. Vardy delivered and his release clause has been met. However, as Leicester’s first-choice strikers and top goalscorers for the season, Vardy’s exit could be damaging.
Without Vardy, Leicester played a lot different as they couldn’t replicate his pace in attack. Given the Foxes have a Champions League campaign to come next season, they could really struggle without such an influential player. So all the coveted stars considering their future, they may feel they have hit a glass ceiling with Leicester. They have already exceeded expectations winning the title, so a fresh new challenge might be in their sights.
This might be their only change for a big move
It’s been questioned why players of a title-winning club would ever want to leave, but the answer is simple. Not every player dreamt of winning honours with the Foxes, but with other European giants they followed as children. For some players in the squad, they have the best opportunity to live out such dreams by talking to interested clubs, and this might be their only chance to do so given there’s no guarantee of a repeat in the title race in 2016/17.
Leicester might well be made to endure the exit of others from the squad this summer, which could prove to be cataclysmic to their hopes of a strong participation in the Champions League and as Premier League holders. Riyad Mahrez is 11/4 to join Arsenal this summer, and his impending move might be even more likely when Vardy joins the Gunners.