RE: Will Vardy fit in at Arsenal?


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Dear Arsene,

You’ve really outdone yourself this time. You always keep your cards close your chest when it comes to transfers. The proverbial ‘poker face’ should really be called the ‘Arsene face’, but this was sneaky even by your standards.

I’m talking about the other day when we all woke up to the shock news that we had met the release clause for Jamie Vardy. At first, it seemed like tabloid talk, but as the day wore on, it became clear that you’d put down your royal flush.

It is no secret we need a striker, it was probably the difference between title glory and second place. Indeed even you said that “we didn’t have anybody with 20 goals in the league, so that is a handicap”. Would Vardy however, be the right fit for us?

I can certainly see why you triggered the release clause. No less than 24 goals in the Premier League last season, the second highest. Our top scorer last season was Giroud who had 16, three of which came from that final day thumping of an already relegated Aston Villa. Vardy had a conversion rate of 25.8% which was almost 6% more than Giroud. Moreover, he averaged a goal every 131 minutes, a full 20 minutes quicker than Giroud.

Perhaps the most striking comparison is that Vardy managed to score in 11 consecutive Premier League games while Giroud went scoreless in 15 games. Numbers like that simply don’t lie.

Vardy’s movement and finishing is exactly what we need at the moment. I am keen as you are to see a target man with pace and clinical movement. Too often we weren’t sharp enough in the final third in seasons gone past and he can be the “explosive” player that was our missing link last season.

Vardy played in front of Riyad Mahrez last season, a respectable player in his own right but if Vardy were to join us, he could receive the services of Mesut Ozil. There is tremendous potential there, given the number of chances he creates every game. A genius playmaker and a lethal fox in the box is a deadly combination.

The icing on the cake is that the price tag a mere £20m. £20m doesn’t buy you much these days in terms of quality, let alone a British striker who actually has Premier League experience and scored the number of goals Vardy has. It is a no brainer.

I do have some concerns however. You see, Vardy was at his explosive best playing for Leicester last season. Leicester absorbed pressure from their opponents and caught them on the counter and were a joy to watch.

We are Arsenal, we play with the ball not without it.

I do worry whether or not we will get the best out of Jamie Vardy when teams put 10 men behind the ball. It is a problem we have with the style of our play more than it is specifically an issue with Vardy himself, but a more technical player, one who could take players on and dribble past them would be more suited to the defensive ‘Great Walls of China’ we will inevitably be facing. It is not to say Vardy’s pace and touch won’t get him goals, the question is, will it get him enough goals? Theo Walcott has similar qualities yet you can see what has happened to him.

It is not to say we aren’t good on the counter, in fact I would say we are the best in the league, but how often will we see that sort of space? Even if we do sign Vardy a broader change in tactics to allow us to catch teams on the counter is required, otherwise we will be frustrated trying to unlock stubborn, well organised defences.

There is also the fact that he has only had one good season. The season before last he scored a mere 5 goals. Granted, Leicester were battling relegation that year but five goals is not a great return. There have been many a player who have had one good season only to flop in the next season, especially after moving to a new club with a new system. Vardy will need to adapt to our style and reproduce the same results he did last season and that is easier said than done.

Despite my concerns, I am still excited by the potential signing of Vardy. He is a bargain, but it is important are his his workhorse like qualities and will to score goals. There is no way he could have achieved the monumental feats of last season without the hunger and desire that it requires to be a champion and to set goal scoring records. I believe that despite the challenges he will face adjusting to our style, he will find a way to do it and ensure that he is successful. It is important though that you set us up tactically so that we can play to his strengths. The signing of Granit Xhaka I think will be crucial in breaking up the oppositions’ play and allow us to win the ball quickly and catch the opponent on the counter attack where the sky is the limit for Vardy.

Thank you for yet another potential shrewd bit of business Arsene. After the lack of outfield signings last season a big name signing such as this is music to our ears. Hopefully you have more cards near your chest that you will play in the transfer market soon!

Yours Faithfully,

Arsenal Blogger

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