Leicester midfielder Andy King says the strong team bond at the club will not be damaged should Jamie Vardy decide to join Arsenal, as the future of the England striker threatens to overshadow the team’s build-up to Euro 2016.
Vardy, the Football Writers’ Player of the Year, left for France on Monday still considering a £20million move to Arsenal, with Premier League champions Leicester reportedly set to make him a new contract offer to keep him at the King Power Stadium.
Vardy scored 24 league goals last season as 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester won the title, and his departure would be a huge blow ahead of the club’s Champions League debut.
”I wasn’t surprised when I heard about Vards because all of our players have had brilliant seasons and are going to be linked with big clubs,” said Wales midfielder King.
”For Leicester it is going to be a summer of speculation of incomings and outgoings.
”Nothing has happened yet and it will probably be a long transfer window.
”But I don’t think it will affect the squad. It is 25 players in a squad and, if one or two decide they want to go and play their football elsewhere, we wish them all the best.
”We want to keep our best players and hopefully add to that.”
King said the entire Leicester squad wanted Vardy to stay following their historic campaign.
But should Vardy leave it might increase speculation that other Leicester players, among them Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante, could see their own futures elsewhere.
”We want all our best players to stay and try and build from there,” said King.
”But what he (Vardy) decides to do is up to him.”
Former Leicester defender Gerry Taggart echoed that view.
He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If Jamie goes then one or two others might want to leave as well.
“The whole Leicester ethos over the last couple of seasons has been built around people like Vardy.”
Having a leading player with such an important decision to make over his club future is hardly an ideal situation for Roy Hodgson.
The England boss has been firm in his insistence that club matters should not distract his players from their duty with the national team.
Speaking a little over a week ago, he said: “One thing this group of players know and have accepted very well is when you’re on England duty, you’re on England duty.
“It’s not a question of you sorting out your future or you diving off for medicals. We control all of that.
“You have to accept that there’s a good chance if you say, ‘look I need to go for a medical’, we’ll say, ‘no, we’re not allowing that, you better bring your people here’.
“We’ll do everything we can to facilitate. We’re not trying to block players’ futures or transfers, but as far as we’re concerned our ongoing theme is ‘England’s England, your club’s your club’.
“When you’re with England we want you to stay focused on us.”
Meanwhile, West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan revealed he would have loved to have brought Vardy to east London, but the money involved made it impossible.
“While it is true that we would have loved to have him (Vardy), the numbers being talked about in a potential move to Arsenal show that the market is going potty,” said Sullivan on the Hammers website.
”It is safe to say that signing him would have smashed our current wage structure and we are determined to buy players with good value in this mad market.”