Wednesday 21 August 2019

Manchester United must cough up £30m if they want to prise Jamie Vardy away from Leicester

Leicester City's Jamie Vardy (c) celebrates scoring against Newcastle
Leicester City's Jamie Vardy (c) celebrates scoring against Newcastle

Matt Law

Leicester City will demand at least £30 million for scoring sensation Jamie Vardy if Chelsea or Manchester United make a January approach.

Vardy can break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record by scoring in an 11th successive match against Manchester United on Saturday.

As revealed by Telegraph Sport on Thursday, Vardy’s incredible goalscoring streak has attracted the attention of Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo, while United manager Louis van Gaal has not ruled out a move for the 28-year-old.

But with two-and-a-half years remaining on his £40,000-a-week contract, Leicester are in a strong position to hold out for huge money for Vardy, particularly with the shortage of in-form strikers who qualify as home-grown and are free to play in the Champions League.

Despite the fact Vardy was playing non-league football three years ago and cost just £1m from Fleetwood Town, the Foxes are determined not to bow to the pressure of interest from the so-called big clubs and could offer the England international a new deal to stay.

Christian Benteke celebrates after scoring the second goal for Liverpool

Having seen Aston Villa get £32.5m for Christian Benteke from Liverpool and United pay £36m for Anthony Martial in the summer, Leicester currently value Vardy in the same bracket even though he is older.

And while £30m-plus may seem like a huge fee for Vardy, the fact his wages are considerably lower than most of Europe’s top strikers offsets Leicester’s valuation of their star man.

Chelsea are expected to formalise plans over whether or not to enter the transfer market for a striker in January during the next fortnight, with club scouts watching Vardy and West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino, who has 18 months to run on his West Bromwich Albion contract and would not fetch more than £20m.

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While his form and the fact he is English are attractive to Chelsea, manager Jose Mourinho may need convincing that Vardy is not simply going through an incredible purple patch.

Chelsea are reluctant to sign players deemed flavour of the month, but making a move for Vardy would not be unlike when the club spent £15m to take Nicolas Anelka, who was then 28, from Bolton in January 2008 after the Frenchman had scored 11 goals in 22 games.

Mourinho has recently played down his desire to sign any players in January, but did not rule out a move for Vardy when specifically asked on Friday.

“I know which players are possible, which players are impossible, but also what I told you (before) - I will not ask for players to the board,” said Mourinho. “I will try and do the best job I can and get the best results I can with the players we have.”

Scoring and breaking the record against United would no doubt increase interest in Vardy, but the player has not been fazed by any of the attention he has attracted in recent weeks.

It is also unlikely to concern the Stocksbridge Park Steels striker, who is launching his own V9 academy to give non-League players the chance to follow in his footsteps, that a January move to a club such as Chelsea or United could threaten his place in England manager Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2016 squad.

Setting a Premier League scoring record will not be enough to guarantee Vardy a place in Hodgson’s squad, with England staff concerned he could end up on the substitutes’ bench at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford.

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