Arsène Wenger speaks out on failed Jamie Vardy transfer in 2016

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Jamie Vardy of Leicester City poses with the Premier League Trophy with his family after the Barclays Premier League match between Leicester City and Everton at The King Power Stadium on May 7, 2016 in Leicester, United Kingdom
Photo: Michael Regan/GETTY IMAGES

Former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has lifted the lid on his failed pursuit of the transfer of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy back in 2016.

Vardy attracted admiring glances from North London after helping Leicester pull off a miraculous Premier League title triumph in the 2015/16 season.

It's understood that Arsenal agreed to meet the release clause included in Vardy's Leicester contract, believed to be in the region of £20 million.

However, after earning himself an international call-up for England for Euro 2016, the former Stocksbridge Park Steels man ultimately committed his future to the King Power Stadium.

Asked on beIN Sports how close he came to bringing Vardy to the Emirates, Wenger said:

I offered him a lot of money. But Leicester had just won the championship [Premier League title] in 2016 and [late Foxes owner] Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha at the time did absolutely not want to lose him.

Leicester offered him a longer contract and approximately the same amount of money, if not more.

At the time, the Frenchman was on the market for an alternative to Olivier Giroud that would have complimented Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil in attack.

Whilst Vardy thrives in a higher pace, particularly on the counter attack, Wenger believed the striker would have slotted into the Gunners' attacking force seamlessly.

We had more of the ball than Leicester did, yes. But I think still around the box the timings of his runs, he finds the space to go. When you see the big strikers they are always on the move when the others stand still in the box, and he has that.

You see with these strikers, they read the game earlier than others. They anticipate better, they understand quicker than other people what's going on, and that quality of anticipation and that speed of understanding makes him the player he is.

The quality of his runs are exceptional, and of course he is a good finisher as well.

When you speak about giving boys a chance, this guy played at Fleetwood Town until the age of 27, and the impact he has now in the Premier League - the best league in the world - it's absolutely unbelievable!

Vardy is still banging in the goals at 34 years old and scooped the Premier League Golden Boot last season.

Jamie Vardy is an animal - he's always in the game. He looks like he doesn't get out of the game, mentally, and the great strikers are like that. They are convinced they will score at some stage. And that allows him, even when he misses a chance, to stay in the game.

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