Ranieri fears Vardy exit
LONDON — Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has confirmed that Jamie Vardy is yet to make a decision regarding his club future, but admitted that he will be powerless to stop him, as Arsenal have launched a bid to take him to the Emirates Stadium this summer.
The Gunners are willing to pay the English striker’s £20m elease clause as Arsene Wenger is looking to bring a proven goal-scorer to aid their push for the Premier League title next season.
The Foxes forward is currently with the Three Lions squad at European Championship finals in France and is expected to make a decision following the conclusion of the tournament.
The Gunners launched a bid just before the striker departed for the Euros and were expecting to complete the deal before their opening clash against Russia on 11 June, which they drew 1-1.
However, the England inter- national has asked for more time to make his final decision as he is considering staying with the King Power outfit after they made a counter-offer, which is reportedly close to matching Arsenal’s offer of £120,000-a-week.
Ranieri is keen to hold on to the 24-goal striker, who was named the football writers’ player of the year, but concedes that the final decision is with Vardy as the club is powerless to stop him after Arsenal triggered the release clause.
“We want to keep him, Arsenal have said they will pay the full release clause, but he hasn’t accepted yet.
“He gets the last word,” the Italian manager said, as quoted by football-italia.net
The 64-year-old manager, whose appointment at the start of last season was met with a lot of skepticism, admits that the club’s initial target was survival in the English top-flight.
Ranieri is aware that the Premier League champions will face a much tougher task retaining the title, but is hoping they can remain in the mix with the manager planning a few additions to strengthen the squad.
“At the start of the season, the objective we set with the President was 40 points.
“I always thought positive in my life, but we all really started to think something could happen after the Arsenal game, when we were down to 10 men.”
“I know a very difficult Premier League campaign awaits us, because what we did cannot be repeated. I hope to keep all my champions and add a few reinforcements,” the Italian coach
Meanwhile, Leicester defender Danny Simpson is hopeful that striker Jamie Vardy will reject the overtures of Arsenal and still be at the Premier League champions when the new season kicks off.
“I have spoken to Jamie,” Simpson told the BBC. “Everyone wants him to stay. We would like everyone to stay, even if it’s just for one more year.
“It’s his decision and he says he wants to concentrate on the European Championship.”
Vardy, 29, was the joint second-highest scorer in the Premier League last season with 24 goals.
The Leicester striker was an unused substitute when England drew their Group B opener against Russia 1-1 on Saturday but will be hoping to play some part against Wales today or the team’s final group game against Slovakia on 20 June. — Reuters