Former Arsenal transfer chief Dick Law has revealed just how close Leicester striker Jamie Vardy came to moving to the Emirates Stadium in a £20million deal back in 2016.
Arsenal had identified Vardy as a prime target after he fired Leicester to an unlikely Premier League title in the 2015-16 season.
Vardy bagged 24 goals that term and broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record for scoring in consecutive Premier League games after netting in 11 matches on the bounce.
Arsenal came incredibly close to signing Jamie Vardy from Leicester after the 2015-16 season
Vardy’s 24 goals that campaign fired Leicester to an unlikely Premier League triumph
JAMIE VARDY’S LEICESTER STATS
Arsene Wenger was in desperate need of bolstering his attack in the summer of 2016 and wanted to bring Vardy to the club.
Law, who spent 13 years at Arsenal between 2005 and 2018, was in charge of brokering the £20m deal for Vardy and has now revealed that the striker had even agreed terms before making a last-minute U-turn.
Speaking to The Athletic, Law said: ‘The deal with Leicester was done, the deal with the player was done.
Arsene Wenger wanted to bring him to Arsenal but Dick Law said Vardy changed his mind
Law revealed Vardy and his wife Rebekah (R) even visited the Emirates ahead of striker’s move
‘He came down to visit with his wife Rebekah, he sat on the couch in front of Arsene… and then he backed off.
‘On his way back to Leicester I get a call from the player saying he wants to think about it overnight.
‘At that point, you know it’s bad news.’
Vardy opted to remain at Leicester and has since gone on to establish himself as one of the club’s modern-day icons.
Arsenal splashed £17m on flop Lucas Perez in the summer of 2016 after missing out on Vardy
Arsenal were forced to look elsewhere and instead ended up splashing out £17m to sign Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer of 2016 despite being warned by their head of recruitment he would not be up to the grade.
Perez scored just one goal in 11 Premier League games during the 2016-17 campaign and was sent back to Deportivo on loan the following season before being sold for £10m to West Ham.
Despite Arsenal finishing above Leicester for three successive seasons after their remarkable Premier League triumph, Vardy’s decision now looks to be paying off with The Foxes once again equipped to challenge for European football.
Vardy has enjoyed another prolific season, and has scored 19 times for Leicester this term
Under Brendan Rodgers, Leicester look to be a real force and have added depth and quality to their team over the past few transfer windows with astute signings such as Youri Tielimans and Ricardo Pereira.
Former England international Vardy has enjoyed another prolific season for Leicester, scoring 19 times, and was on the verge of helping the club return to the Champions League before football was suspended due to the coronavirus crisis.
Arsenal, meanwhile, were teetering in ninth before the enforced break and look set to miss out on European football next season altogether.