Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has no regrets following his disappointing campaign having turned down a summer move to Arsenal. The 30-year-old scored six goals in the first six months of the campaign, but a run of four in his last five appearances and signalled an improvement in fortunes for the Premier League champions.
The former Fleetwood Town starlet enjoyed a fairy tale 2015-16 season, netting 24 top-flights goals including in a record-breaking 12 consecutive matches as the Foxes won the title in remarkable fashion. But the club have endured a sobering campaign this year, having been involved in a relegation battle which led to the sacking of Claudio Ranieri. Vardy himself has been subject to death threats amid accusations he instigated a coup against the former manager.
Since the Italian's exit and appointment of Craig Shakespeare, Leicester have won four games in a row; pulling clear of the bottom three and reaching the Champions League quarter-finals after overcoming Sevilla. After a poor start to the campaign, Vardy could have been forgiven for regretting his decision to snub a move to Arsenal, yet the England forward believes little would have changed had he taken up the offer.
"If I'd played like that I would have been in the same situation there, so no. No, not at all," he said when asked if his form at Arsenal might have been different, according to The Evening Standard. "The main thing was not to let it get you down. That is the worst thing – then you will just never want to go on the pitch again. So you just have to keep working hard.
"If you keep working at the things that worked well in the past there is a point where they will come around and start working for you again. It was hard but that has started to happen. We have started to pick the wins up and dragged ourselves away from the relegation zone."
In his autobiography, published in September 2016, Vardy cited tactical reasons for his decision to turn down a £20m ($25m) move to Arsenal. The Gunners went on to acquire Lucas Perez from Deportivo La Coruna, and Vardy believes he would not have suited Arsene Wenger's side.
"With people like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil creating chances, Arsenal felt they could benefit me as much as I could them," Vardy wrote in his book, as quoted by the Daily Mail. "But I also thought about the tactical aspect. You look at Arsenal's style of play and they don't get the ball forward quickly in the same way Leicester do for those runs I like to make in behind the defence.
"One thing that didn't worry me was the idea that I wouldn't be the 'main man' at Arsenal. We even looked at new schools for the children, but I got to the stage where I felt with my heart and head that I wanted to stay at Leicester," the England international explained. Players always come and go. It was more a case of seeing Leicester as a club that wanted to build on what we achieved with the title and I want to be part of that."