Jamie Vardy claims he found it an “easy decision” to reject Arsenal, insisting both his head and his heart were set on staying with Leicester City.
Having played a pivotal role in the Foxes’ remarkable Premier League title triumph, England striker Vardy headed to Euro 2016 with his future undecided after Arsenal had met his release clause.
Despite taking some time to weigh up his options, the 29-year-old says the call was a relatively straightforward one to make.
“I was in a hotel room [in Chantilly] for so many hours of every day with nothing to do. You had a lot of time on your hands,” he explained ahead of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Slovakia, which marks Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of England.
“I am not going to beat around the bush – every time I thought about it, and every aspect of it I thought about, both my head and my heart were saying to stay at Leicester, which is why I made my decision to stay.
“There were loads of reasons. You get that much time to think about every single thing, down to the tea lady. You think about what might happen, what might not. Where you could be, where not.
“Every time I thought about every little thing, though, both head and heart were saying ‘you need to stay’.
“I could see people’s point when they assumed I would go, but, deep down, if you don’t think it’s right for you, you don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.
“In my professional life, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I haven’t been a professional for that long. It was hard, but it was actually an easy decision to make.”
It had been suggested Claudio Ranieri’s table-topping squad would be picked apart by circling suitors, with the likes of Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante in high demand.
However, it was only Kante, now at Chelsea, who opted to leave and Vardy is confident Leicester can challenge again this season.
“Leicester have been on the rise for a while now and will keep doing that,” he added.
“Look at the deals they did in the transfer window: they obviously want to keep it going. And, if it does keep going, I want to be part of that.
“I’ve been there from when I was at Fleetwood Town, five years ago, when we were in the Championship and we have gone up and up and up.
“We are a group of brothers and lots of the lads have signed long-term deals now, which the gaffer wanted. To only lose Kante from a Premier League-winning team is not that bad, so hopefully it will carry on.
“That is something I want to be part of.”