The Italian has described the striker’s decision to snub Arsenal by remaining with the Foxes as “huge”, while he says he does understand why N’Golo Kante left to join Chelsea
Claudio Ranieri believes Jamie Vardy’s decision to stay at Leicester City sent a “huge” message to rest of the Premier League, while he says he does understand why N’Golo Kante left to join Chelsea.
Vardy scored 24 goals in 36 appearances to fire Leicester to glory last season and collect the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year award.
The 29-year-old England striker was the subject of sustained interest from Arsenal, who triggered the release clause in his Leicester contract, but he opted to snub the Gunners by signing an extended contract at the King Power Stadium.
Ranieri was understandably delighted and compared Vardy’s actions to Luigi Riva – the great Italian forward who spent the bulk of his career with Cagliari, helping the unfashionable club to their only Serie A title in 1969-70 and famously rejecting a move to Juventus.
Asked about the importance of not losing Vardy by Gazzetta dello Sport, Ranieri said: “It was huge. It gave a signal to all.
“He could have gone to Arsenal, earned more money and taken advantage of his last chance to land in a world-class club.
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“He preferred instead to stay at Leicester and it seems to me a choice like Gigi Riva. Vardy should be thanked.”
Kante, another key figure in Leicester’s remarkable Premier League title triumph, opted against following in Vardy’s footsteps, though, by joining Chelsea on Saturday.
However, Ranieri accepts that France international Kante, who signed a five-year deal with the Stamford Bridge outfit, had solid reasons for going against his pleas for squad unity.
“I hoped for them to stay and listen to all my advice: we all live the adventure of champions together, then next summer be free to make different choices,” Ranieri added.
“However, I realise that the lure of a club like Chelsea cannot leave a player indifferent.”