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Jamie Vardy is a true superstar and Leicester City don't have to sell him

Vardy has made a surprise run to the top of the Premier League's scoring charts, but Leicester City can feel confident of holding onto their star talent.

Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

Before the start of the current Premier League season, most pundits' predictions for the division's top scorer would be fairly predictable. Chelsea's Diego Costa, or Manchester City's Sergio Agüero would have certainly featured heavily, and even the most flamboyant of forecasters would've plumped for Arsenal's Alexis Sánchez or Manchester United's Wayne Rooney. Instead, with over a quarter of the season gone, we've got a completely unexpected name at the summit of the scoring charts: Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.

Jamie ... who?

Jamie Vardy. And don't be embarrassed if you don't know the name. Before Leicester's promotion to the Premier League a couple of seasons ago, barely anyone else did either. And even those that knew of Vardy certainly weren't predicting him to go on and become an elite striker. After all, he was playing non-league football with Fleetwood Town only three years ago (while paying the bills by working in a factory making medical splints), meaning he's enjoying something of an Indian summer at 28 years of age.

So is he good good, or just in freakish form?

Only 10 games into the new Premier League season, it's too early to have a definitive answer. However, it's looking ever more like Vardy really is a very good striker, and certainly one capable of challenging for the title of top scorer (with 10 goals, he's currently got a buffer of four at the top of the rankings). He's a real tricky customer for defenders, with his dogged persistence and direct dribbling keeping them constantly on their toes.

The stats folk like him, too: An expected goals and assists analysis by Michael Caley suggests he's comparable with the likes of Sánchez and Agüero:

xG    xA     Player
8.2    2.4    Alexis Sanchez

1.6    6.0    Mesut Özil
3.8    3.5    Dimitri Payet
6.0    1.4    Jamie Vardy
4.8    1.7    Harry Kane
6.1    0.3    Sergio Agüero
5.2    0.7    Olivier Giroud
3.4    2.2    Yaya Touré
1.3    4.1    Riyad Mahrez
3.8    1.6    Bafétimbi Gomis

If you've no idea what these numbers mean, head on over to Caley's marathon explainer at Cartilage Free Captain.

Is he just a pure goalscorer?

Nope! It's not just because he's an excellent finisher that he's proving so useful for the Foxes, but also because of his incredible versatility. Vardy’s got a winger’s pace and a striker’s precision, a combination that allows Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri to play him off the flanks or through the middle, helping his side adapt to different game scenarios with relative ease. It's also what will likely make Vardy a very handy addition to Roy Hodgson's England squad for next summer's European Championships, where the small squad size limits make talented utility players a hugely valuable asset.

If he's that good, why doesn't he want a move?

Well, he probably does. The recent rumors linking him to Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and most optimistically Real Madrid could well be the work of Vardy's agent, who's got as much of a motive as his client to get a big deal done. And it's understandable that he's wanting to sort it as quickly as possible: At 28, Vardy's now as good as he's ever going to get; if a big team does elect to go in for him in January, it won't be because they're expecting him to hold down a place in their first team long term. He may be in the form of his life, but Vardy's value will soon start to tail off.

Does that mean Leicester will want to sell up quick?

Almost certainly not. With the Premier League having made an incredibly lucrative new TV deal, the value of staying in the top flight far exceeds what a club would be willing to pay for a player of Vardy's age and ability. They simply have no motive to sell, and gain more both on and off the field by holding onto their star man. What's more, Vardy's signed a four-year contract extension last year, so the power all remains in the club's hands.

And so to conclude ...

Jamie Vardy is a very good striker, capable of playing for a better team than Leicester. But with three years still to run on his contract (by which time he'll be almost the end of his useful Premier League life), and the Foxes having more to gain by keeping him than selling him, it looks like he'll be staying at the King Power Stadium for the long haul.


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