Friday 27 April 2018

Leicester target Deeney amid Vardy uncertainty

Watford striker Troy Deeney. Photo: PA
Watford striker Troy Deeney. Photo: PA

Jeremy Wilson

Leicester City have launched a bid to sign Watford striker Troy Deeney as they weigh up a counter offer to Jamie Vardy in a desperate attempt to stop him joining Arsenal.

Arsenal are still very hopeful of completing a £20m deal for Vardy before England begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia next Saturday, but the striker is agonising over whether to move to the Emirates just a month after winning the Premier League title with Leicester.

Leicester must now decide whether to match Arsenal's contract offer, which is in excess of £100,000 a week, and weigh up the impact of losing Vardy against the possibility of disrupting the dressing room if they keep him on significantly higher wages than the rest of the squad.

Regardless of Vardy's future, Leicester want to sign £15m-rated Deeney, who scored 13 Premier League goals last season.

The 27-year-old is settled at Vicarage Road, but the lure of Champions League football with Leicester may be difficult to turn down.

Arsenal have formally triggered the release clause in Vardy's contract and personal terms on a potential four-year deal are understood to have been provisionally agreed, leaving the decision now with the 29-year-old.

Having broken into professional football only in 2012 after nine years in non-league, the clear expectation is that Vardy will take what could realistically be his last chance of a move to one of the established Champions League elite of Europe.

Leicester, though, appear likely to make one last offer of an enhanced contract after rewarding him in February with a new deal until 2019 worth around £80,000 a week.

Completing a move while at the England camp in France would not be an issue for Arsenal and Vardy, as long as negotiations do not drag on into the tournament.

The arrival of Vardy would threaten the place of Olivier Giroud as Arsenal's main central striker, but he has welcomed news of manager Arsene Wenger's attempt to conclude a second major signing this summer following the £30m arrival of Granit Xhaka. "I have been told that Jamie wants to join us and it's very good news for us," said Giroud. "He's a fantastic player."

Asked if Vardy's arrival would mean a change in formation from Wenger's usual 4-2-3-1 system, Giroud joked: "Obviously 4-4-2. As I said in the past, I am happy with competition. I want the best for this club. Hopefully he is going to help us win the title."

Arsenal also still want to sign a centre-back this summer and at least one sale is likely amid uncertainty over the futures of Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott. Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are also all due for contract talks.

Meanwhile, Southampton will consider Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and Sevilla coach Unai Emery as they seek to replace Ronald Koeman, who has agreed to become the new manager of Everton, in a deal financed by the club's new owner Farhad Moshiri. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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