It's time for Vardy to weigh up his options outside of Leicester
Jamie Vardy will go down as one of Leicester’s greatest ever players, but it’s time that the club icon weighed up his other options… the Foxes legend can’t afford to spend more time on sidelines at the King Power
- Jamie Vardy is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in Leicester’s history
- However, the English talisman has fallen out-of-favour under Brendan Rodgers
- It may be time for Vardy and Leicester to cut their losses and both move on
Jamie Vardy’s status at Leicester is such that they have abandoned the normal rules of counting for him.
When the announcer at the King Power Stadium reads out the teams, he will always leave Vardy’s name until last – even though Leicester have first-team players wearing 27, 33, 37 and 42.
‘And number nine, Jamie Vardy!’ the announcer bellows in the seconds before kick-off. As arguably the greatest player in the club’s history, his name always brings an extra cheer.
Yet in the end, the numbers cannot be ignored – for Vardy or Leicester. Vardy is 36. He has one Premier League goal this season.
Since the 2-2 draw with Brighton on January 21, Vardy has spent 87 minutes on the pitch in the league. Shouting Vardy’s name like that doesn’t quite have the same effect if he is on the bench.
Leicester’s Jamie Vardy has scored just one Premier League during the current campaign
Brendan Rodgers has opted against using the club legend for the Foxes in recent weeks
The statistics aren’t too pretty for Leicester either. Two wins and eight defeats from 11 since the league resumed.
A loss of £92.5million for the 12-month period ending May 31 last year. A goal difference of minus nine – although this is the only thing that is keeping them out of the bottom three.
Against Chelsea last weekend, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers broke with convention and started with a front two.
Vardy was not one of them, as Kelechi Iheanacho and Patson Daka were selected. Even though Vardy has another year left on his contract, it is starting to feel as though the die is cast.
As inconceivable as it may seem, do not be surprised if Leicester and Vardy go in different directions this summer – though the situation is far from simple.
As a club icon, Vardy does not wish to see out the final year of his contract playing a few minutes here, a few there. A parting of the ways similar to the departure of Kasper Schmeichel last summer cannot be ruled out.
Yet how many takers are there for a player who is comfortably Leicester’s highest earner but who is on the wane? In an era where European clubs are looking increasingly to younger players with resale value, why sign a highly-paid centre-forward in his mid-thirties whose best days are behind him?
The 36-year-old has scored 168 goals for the Foxes during his 11-year stint at the club
There would be options for Vardy in the Middle East but he is a natural competitor and may baulk at the idea of finishing his playing days outside Europe’s top leagues.
Vardy has become disheartened in recent times because of Rodgers’ preference for playing out from the back. Vardy’s game is to sprint on to early passes between the centre-back and full-back.
Starved of such service, he struggles to contribute. From Rodgers’ point of view, Vardy has not delivered so he needs to find another way.
Both Leicester and Vardy are in a fix. Given everything they have achieved – Premier League title, FA Cup, Community Shield, Champions League quarter-finals – perhaps the best option for both parties is to try haul themselves out of trouble together.
As far as Rodgers’ Leicester have fallen, they do not need to rediscover the form that carried them to the Cup and two consecutive fifth-place finishes. All they require over the remainder of the season is for three teams finish below them.
Vardy, at the age of 36, may find his options limited if he decides to leave the club
Vardy doesn’t quite pass the eye test these days even though his physical data might be impeccable.
He is no longer the player who won the Golden Boot in 2020 – but nor does he have to be. Four or five goals from him would probably be enough to keep Leicester up.
None of Leicester’s forwards have shone this season and with his record, Vardy believes he deserves to be backed. It would need another tweak in style from Rodgers, and for Vardy to commit himself completely to the survival fight.
Because there must be a better solution than this. With such a fabulous history together, Leicester and Vardy owe it to one another to find one.
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