Arsene Wenger has explained the circumstances around Arsenal missing out on Jamie Vardy in 2016.
It’s understood that Arsenal agreed to meet the release clause included in Jamie Vardy’s Leicester contract after the Foxes shocked the world with their 2015/16 Premier League triumph.
Missing out on Vardy remains one of few regrets in the career of Arsene Wenger, who managed Arsenal for more than two decades, but the Frenchman remains a great admirer of the Leicester forward’s talents.
“He’s always in the game,” Wenger said of Vardy on beIN SPORTS. “He looks like he doesn’t get out of a game mentally. And the great strikers that I like are convinced somewhere that they will score at some stage.
"I offered him a lot of money!"
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) February 13, 2021
“That allows him, even when he misses a chance he stays in the game.”
Wenger recalled a considerable financial effort to take Vardy to the Emirates but Leicester were not prepared to part ways with their talisman.
“I offered him a lot of money at the time,” Wenger admitted. “Leicester had just won the Premier League in 2016 and (late Leicester owner) Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha did absolutely not want to lose him.
“They offered him a longer contract and approximately the same money if not more.”
Arsenal’s approach for Vardy was met with many questions about how the English striker would fit into Wenger’s philosophy, which consisted of long spells of possession and breaking down opposition defences with extended build-up.
While Vardy thrives in a higher pace, particularly on the counter attack, Wenger remains confident that Vardy would have slotted into the Gunners’ attacking force seamlessly.
“We had more of the ball, yes, but I still think around the box with the timing of his runs and he finds the space to go,” Wenger explained.
“When you see the great strikers, they are on the move when others stand still in the box. And Vardy has that!
“They read earlier than others, they anticipate better, they understand what’s going on quicker than other people and he has that quality of anticipation and speed of understanding.”