Arsène Wenger moves to snatch Jamie Vardy from Leicester

Arsenal trigger £20m release clause in bid to prise striker from champions

Arsenal have triggered the release clause in Jamie Vardy's contract and are ready to prise the England international from Leicester City in a deal worth about £20 million (€25.5 million).

Arsène Wenger’s pursuit of Vardy represents a significant shift from Arsenal’s transfer policy but the striker’s availability for a relatively modest fee, and the alternative option that he provides in attack with his searing pace, has fuelled the manager’s interest.

Leicester, however, have not given up hope of holding onto Vardy. He signed an improved three-and-a-half-year contract in February and is seen as a central part of their plans going forward.

Vardy has a close relationship with Leicester’s Thai owners, as well as Claudio Ranieri, the manager, and there is a desire on their part to keep the title-winning team together.


New contract

It is possible Leicester will now offer Vardy another new contract to try to persuade him to remain at the King Power Stadium. He scored 24 Premier League goals in a season when Leicester defied 5,000/1 odds to be crowned Premier League champions and it would be a huge blow for the club to lose him.

Vardy, however, is 29 years old, at a crucial juncture in his career and his profile has never been higher. He only broke into the professional game in 2012, after nine years in non-league football, and could find it hard to turn down the chance to join Arsenal, even if they finished runners up to Leicester last season.

Meanwhile, Leicester have announced the signing of the goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler from Hannover 96. The 27-year-old Germany international arrives for an undisclosed fee and has signed a four-year contract.

“It feels great coming to Leicester and joining the club after they’ve had such a great season,” said Zieler. “I’ve been shown around the training ground and it looks very good and I’ve been to the stadium – I heard about the great atmosphere and the fans, so my first impression is very good.”

The player made more than 200 appearances for Hannover and has six caps for Germany. He was also part of their 2014 World Cup-winning squad.

Prior to that, he was part of Manchester United’s academy, where he played alongside the current Leicester players Danny Drinkwater, Matty James, Danny Simpson and Ritchie De Laet.

Laurent Blanc’s position as the manager of Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain looked in jeopardy yesterday when the club president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, described their season as a failure.

PSG achieved their second successive domestic treble by winning Ligue 1, the French Cup and the League Cup but Champions League progress stagnated as they lost in the quarter-finals for the fourth successive season.

Domestic trophies

"I think we failed this season despite winning domestic trophies," Khelaifi told Le Parisien. "I have been here for five years and it is the first time that we have this feeling of failure."

Khelaifi, in charge since Qatar Sports Investments took over in 2011 and spent vast sums of money on new players, pinpointed the Champions League defeat by Manchester City as his worst moment since he became president. PSG had been favourites but lost 3-2 on aggregate.

“It’s not just the fact that we lost in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, it’s the way it happened,” he said. “I am very disappointed.” Guardian Service