Vardy right to remain but Kante Seen Chelsea Move Coming

Vardy right to remain but Kante Seen Chelsea Move Coming

N’Golo Kante has made a £30m switch to London club Chelsea, threatening the start of a break-up of Leicester’s title winning team. At first glance, it makes Jamie Vardy’s choice to reject an approach from Arsenal all the more puzzling. At the time it was believed this was made after consulting key members of The Foxes squad about their future plans. So what does it all really mean?

Firstly, it means Vardy’s seemingly difficult decision, takes on a whole new dynamic. Let’s say during the pause he took from making an immediate choice, he did ask the likes of Kante and Mahrez what their next career choices were going to be. When he turned The Gunners down, it was a sign the squad was about to adhere to the wishes of Claudio Ranieri, and give Leicester one more year before moving on.

Perhaps Vardy was never given that reassurance from the key players. It’s unlikely they would outright lie to him if asked, so at best, he would have gotten an unsure response.

This does mean Jamie Vardy analysed his choices and made what he felt was the best decision for him. And he made the correct one.

He’s at the Premier League champions. Arsenal may be a bigger club, and with a new manager could have offered a fresh alternative, but the reality is they haven’t got a better chance of taking the title than Leicester.

Size and stature mean little if stunted by stubborn ideas.

That lack of desire to change approach is of course driven by Arsène Wenger. Other than teasing Vardy with the grandiose setting and a chance to take his place in the history books along former players like Thierry Henry, there’s very little that made logical sense.

Jamie Vardy is already 29 years of age, everything that is occurring now already supersedes what he would of dared dream a few years ago. From a professional standpoint, other than Arsenal mythology, there is no tangible evidence he would further develop under Wenger’s watch.

The Arsenal boss has a history of taking promising young players from other clubs and freezing their potential in the same room as he keeps his title aspirations.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must fear he will become another Theo Walcott. The latter now looking for a move to another club to reignite a career the Frenchman killed. One of those clubs is West Ham, where another former Southampton youth talent, Carl Jenkinson, went on loan for the same reason. Calum Chambers will be hoping he isn’t the Oxlade-Chamberlain to Jenkinson’s Walcott.

During this time, Vardy’s talent has risen exponentially.

These must have been considerations the striker took, along with a major one: Wenger was disrespectful trying it on before the Euros.

For Kante things look decidedly different. He’s only 25, and is looking beyond a glory year with underdogs in the Champions League. His new manager, Antonio Conte, was equally absorbed with the Euros and approached at a more appropriate time.

With age on his side, the move should be (using historical data) a wise one. With Roman Abramovich’s desire and resources, Chelsea will get back to the top of the English game. It remains to be seen if Leicester can remain in the top four after coming from nowhere and against all expectation.

Conte is also a close confidante of Ranieri’s, so one has to assume the move was sanctioned, even if somewhat begrudgingly, without any negativity.

With it now looking like Riyad Mahrez will follow N’Golo Konte out of the King Power Stadium, a positive atmosphere is something Ranieri will need to maintain at the club. Losing two-thirds of the important title winning trinity will test his minerals as a manager. Who would have thought, after taking 5000/1 outsiders to championship glory, his biggest test was yet to come?

But it was a title success built on togetherness and shared belief. Whoever comes in must have passed a character suitability test and can converge into the psyche that shook the Premier League.

Leading that line is Jamie Vardy. He’s already living the dream. A move now doesn’t give a Hollywood ending to this story; it would show a betrayal to an ethos that allowed hard work and desire to overcome the odds and those with greater financial clout.

Kante moving on can be understood, but Vardy staying is to be applauded and admired.


Wonder of Wimbledon

Wonder of Wimbledon

Wimbledon strikes its penultimate day. For the women, a legend takes her seventh singles title at the famous venue. The men play tomorrow, with Andy Murray still representing Britain, being recognised as Scottish only in defeat by the masses.

Young children will have watched on during the last few weeks, picking up on peculiarities unique to tennis. Their enquiries ranging from why the man in charge keeps asking for a drink. The reason why those dressed in armed forces’ uniform stand with ball boys and girls. Why do players ask for three balls and always send one back?

These new fans help fill courts up and down the country, along with adults dusting off their rackets for the yearly outing. Promising that they really will carry on playing this time; the delayed New Year’s resolution that meets the same fate as all the rest.

The cross generational experience resumes when watching the telly. They see those that can’t afford Wimbledon strawberries and cream, let alone a premium ticket, wave from Murray Mound. This coming together, just for a glimpse, helps give a taste of the atmosphere to viewers at home. Those too young to remember are informed the grass verge used to be named Henman Hill.

They screw up their faces and ask, “Who?”

The explanation about some Tiger Tim character sums up a deeply seated fear regarding English sport: heroes are made of nearly men that are never quite up to it.

England has spent the summer singing and talking about Three Lions only to be let down by cubs and rich fat cats. But it is at Wimbledon they get to see a true lioness, banishing the focus of sporting failure, replacing it with greatness.

Serena Williams, prowling centre court with beauty and power in equal measure. Delivering feline ferocity while maintaining untouchable grace. This victory makes Wimbledon the spiritual home for a tennis legend. England has been lucky to witness it; tennis is lucky to have her.

The nation waits for tomorrow. The long winter of years without a British Wimbledon winner passed thanks to Murray. Mentions of ’77 and Virginia Wade were only a paracetamol to mask the headache that Fred Perry’s name brought on. The three-time winner is celebrated with deserved adoration, but his last title in 1936, revealed a chasm in domestic sporting achievement.

The youngsters of today think he is just a guy that makes clothes, they see no tennis connection. Nor do they realise the gulf of those vacant decades. They only see a British man entering a Wimbledon final as a clear favourite. As such, Murray now faces a new pressure: expectation.

Such is the fickle nature of sport, the belief a curse was placed on a home winner is overtaken by the conspiracy fate is working to ensure another title for the world’s number two.

Nadal watches on, side-lined and reducing the elite field. Federer was beaten by Father Time and Djokovic left under a mysterious cloud. The path to victory cleared for a presumptive British favourite to take centre court.

He has tasted Olympic gold here, a singles victory, now he looks to assert his place among the upper classes of the game.

If he does, perhaps the British will use an old sentiment and claim Wimbledon victories are like buses. They’ll make this joke as they drag out tennis practice for an extra week while still drinking Robinsons orange juice…the children wondering if the umpire ever got his.