West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan has claimed the Premier League club were priced out of an audacious swoop for Leicester City and England star Jamie Vardy.
Vardy’s 24 goals in 36 league games inspired Leicester to their sensational title triumph and the 29-year-old former non-league striker, who travelled to France with England for Euro 2016 on Monday, is widely reported to be the subject of a big-money offer from Arsenal.
Sullivan is also an admirer of Vardy and has ambitious plans for West Ham as they prepare for their maiden season at the London Olympic Stadium in 2016-17.
But the former Birmingham City co-owner believes the vast sums being spoken of in terms of a transfer fee – a £20million release clause – and potential wages in the Vardy saga means West Ham would not be able to consider entering the bidding.
“On the pitch, work continues to secure the targets we have identified to ensure we build on the considerable progress made in Slaven Bilic’s first season as manager here,” Sullivan said on West Ham’s official website.
“It was reported that one of those targets was Jamie Vardy, and while it is true that we would loved to have had him, the numbers being talked about in a potential move to Arsenal show that the market is going potty.
“It is safe to say that signing him would have smashed our current wage structure and we are determined to buy players with good value in this mad market.”
Sullivan believes West Ham’s track record over recent seasons in this area speaks for itself and revealed the club have bids in for five possible new recruits at the present time.
“We have done that exceptionally well in recent years, with the [signings] of Winston Reid, Cheikhou Kouyate, Aaron Cresswell, Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini vindicating this approach,” he added.
“All of those players have gone on to become stars of our team and you can rest assured that we will be bringing players in this summer who will prove to be just as influential.
“We’re working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make this happen, and with five bids in for players at the moment, we are hopeful that we can bring you some exciting news soon.”