Loyalty is a rare thing in soccer. Feigned loyalty and badge kissing, however, is rampant. Not very surprising, though, as fans have a rather rabid reaction to players who either declare themselves “true to the club” (i.e. their man) and an ever worse one when a player moves on to another club or even threatens to. Gooners have been there a lot. See: van Persie, Robin; Narsi, Samir; Adebayor, Emmanuel; Fabregas, Cesc; Henry, Thierry; etc
So when Jamie Vardy professes his love for Leicester City, after taking weeks to mull an offer to move to Arsenal, one can guess what is at play here. In an autobiography serialized by The Sun (read at your own peril), Vardy said the decision to remain came down to “seeing Leicester as a club that wanted to build on what we achieved with the title and I want to be part of that.”
Still, Vardy was clear that the decision wasn’t easy:
"I tried to work out the pros and cons," Vardy said. "With people like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil creating chances, Arsenal felt they could benefit me as much as I could them.
"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.
In fairness, he’s absolutely correct in all of that. Arsenal could have made excellent use of Vardy’s speed and industry to compliment a quick passing game. But, with the emergence of Alexis Sanchez at centerforward, Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi as complimentary parts to the incomparable Mesut Özil and Olivier Giroud lurking on the bench, Vardy could easily have found himself well down the pecking order. Already having Champions League and first team starts, with an England role still at risk, Leicester City clearly was a favourable choice, dreams of more championships aside.
Unfortunately, Vardy and Leicester have stumbled early one, already picking up as many losses as they had all last year. They have invested well and could find themselves closer to the top at the end of the season than they currently are but recapturing the dream may end up harder than Vardy thought. But then, the challenge is the fun, right?
And he can always just move to Arsenal nex—Oh, hey there, Lucas Perez.