We’ve got too much class to be strung along like some dewy-eyed maid

The feeling that you’re somehow being messed around is not a pleasant one.

It’s an irksome feeling – fuelled by uncertainty and confusion – and is exacerbated several times over when the person responsible for the messing around is doing so in a way that seems very deliberate, and very public.

It’s like a cat pawing at a delicious kibble that is being tantalisingly dangled to within reach before being jerked quite purposefully out of range, in order to torment said feline.

I can’t help but feel that Jamie Vardy (the kibble) is dangling himself to within reach of the cat (Arsenal) – tantalising us with the thought of a delicious haul of Premier League goals – before slipping just out of reach.

Perhaps I’ve mis-read the situation. Perhaps it genuinely is a very difficult decision for a man at a critical juncture of his career. But I can’t shake the feeling that the club is being very cynically strung along by a man out for the ripest deal he can get.

When news of Arsenal’s approach for Vardy first broke, I praised Arsene Wenger for moving swiftly to get the deal tied up before the European Championships – particularly as a good performance at the tournament may have attracted fresh and unwanted interest from rival clubs.

What I didn’t bank on was Vardy himself being the stumbling block to a move, perhaps even deliberately so in order to generate more interest or better personal terms.

At 29, and with his peak reached, this will more than likely be Vardy’s last shot at playing for a big club and testing himself among the European elite. I think even the most optimistic fan would concede that Leicester are unlikely to be competing for Champions League football again next season, let alone the title.

To that end, I don’t believe Vardy is torn as to whether he should leave Leciester – that decision is an easy one. What I fear he is doing is banking on his stock rising that little bit more with a strong performance in the Euros.

Should he hit five or six goals in the full glare of international media, fans, clubs, and managers, all of a sudden there may be a surge of interest and an enormous counter offer may just land in his lap.

If that is what is going on, I don’t think Arsenal should be taken in by it. We are an old club, with class, and pride, and we deserve better than to be taken for some dewy-eyed maid, hopelessly in love and willing to go to any lengths for love.

Set the man a deadline. If he doesn’t want to make the move, withdraw the offer and let him regret it. There isn’t a glut of striking talent in world football at the moment, but all of our eggs should not be placed in the Vardy basket.

If he chooses to sign, fantastic. Here’s hoping that this is the beginning of two or three years of wanton goal-scoring and trophy winning. If he decides he wants to hold out for more money or for Real Madrid to come calling, let’s pack our bags and move on.

We need a goal-scorer, what we don’t need is a mercenary. Lord knows we have had enough of those in the past, and it seldom turns out well.

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