Football: Vardy spurns Gunners, commits to champions Leicester for 4 more years

Jamie Vardy attends a press conference in Chantilly, on June 18, 2016.
Jamie Vardy attends a press conference in Chantilly, on June 18, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

LEICESTER (AFP) - Jamie Vardy gave a huge boost to English Premier League football champions Leicester on Thursday by rejecting an offer from Arsenal to sign a new contract.

The 29-year-old striker - presently on duty with England at the Euro 2016 Finals - agreed to an improved four-year contract offer from 'The Foxes' and spurning Arsenal's advances after they activated a £20 million (S$39.8 million) release clause.

"Leicester City have today (Thursday) agreed with the representatives of Jamie Vardy to extend the England international's contract with the Premier League champions for a further four years.

"Both parties hope that this announcement will end recent speculation regarding Jamie's future and confirm his long-term commitment to Leicester City Football Club," read a curt statement from the club, who added that neither party would be making any further comment on the matter till after England's Euro 2016 campaign was over.

They play Iceland in a last-16 match next Monday.

Vardy, who had only signed a new contract with Leicester in February this year, scored 24 league goals as Leicester, 5,000/1 rank outsiders, were crowned champions of England last season, finishing 10 points in front of second-placed Arsenal, one of the Premier League's established powers.

His club form saw Vardy force his way into England's squad for the ongoing European Championship in France, where he scored in a 2-1 group-stage win over Wales last week.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had all but admitted defeat in his bid to secure Vardy last Sunday, declaring his feeling was that the striker, who has risen from non league obscurity to England international in 10 years, would stay with the champions.

Vardy's decision will encourage manager Claudio Ranieri that other players integral to the title win will remain, such as Algerian Riyad Mahrez, scorer of 17 goals last term, and French midfielder N'Golo Kante.