We all like the transfer window as it brings up all kinds of rumours, some exciting, some not so much. The big story is of course, Zlatan Ibrahimovic moving to Man United (or not) but the one I’m more interested in is Jamie Vardy to Arsenal.
It’s a odd one this. Vardy has just won the Premier League, he has won a call up to the England squad and is going to the Euros with the national side. Things are going well for him so you can understand why he might want to stay where he is. You can also understand why Arsenal would want to sign him. He scored 24 goals in the Premier League last season and helped Leicester to an historic first Premier League title, something the Gunners have missed out on for over a decade now. With it increasingly falling to Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez to score the bulk of Arsenal’s goals, another option is crucial to a sustained push for trophies. This is even more evident after Giroud’s sharp drop in form during last season. Whilst he pulled it back in the end and finished the season strongly, it is clear the Gunners need more options up front.
Is Vardy the man for the job though? Many news sources have reported that he might struggle in the Arsenal formation. Pretty much every team sets up deep against the Gunners, packing the 18 yard line with bodies to try to negate that trademark killer passing move that the North London club do better than anyone. Vardy’s game is a fast penetrating run in behind which he will have much less chance of doing in a team that everyone defends deep against.
Many people have also pointed out his inconsistency, something which cost Arsenal dearly last season. In the last four years Vardy’s record has been patchy at best. Last year he scored 24 goals in the league, the season before he played ten less games but scored a paltry 5 goals all campaign. The season before he hit 14 in 36 games, before than it was 4 in 17 games. Yes he can score, last season proved that, but can he score consistently? I don’t know.
Personally I don’t think he will be a good signing for Arsenal. I don’t think he suits the way they play. The fabled “fox in the box” that Wenger has spent nearly twenty years searching for may well be Jamie Vardy, but the way Arsenal play negates the need for this type of player. He would just stand around offside all game, hands on his hips waiting for Mesut Özil to create something for him. Granted Arsenal could change their style for him but Wenger would simply not build a team around a 29-year-old with one good top flight season under his belt. He has spent too much already buying playing to fit his existing philosophy.
My main complaint about this whole affair though is, if Wenger wanted to sign Vardy why didn’t he do it in January? Vardy was on his old contract with Leicester (he signed a renewal in February with a huge wage increase) so it would have been much cheaper and much easier to tempt him away and, more importantly, Arsenal were top of the league.
Signing Vardy in January would have been a very astute purchase. Signing him now smacks of desperation.