Jamie Vardy is showing why Arsenal wanted to sign him, claims Leicester City manager Craig Shakespeare

John Percy
Jamie Vardy was linked with a summer move to Arsenal - AFP

Craig Shakespeare insists Jamie Vardy is now showing the form that persuaded Arsene Wenger to pursue the Leicester striker last summer.

Vardy will lead Leicester’s bid to record a first victory over Arsenal since November 1994 on Wednesday, after scoring eight goals in his last ten club games.

The England international turned down Arsenal last July after Wenger triggered his £22million release clause, before agreeing a new £100,000 a week contract.

Vardy struggled during Claudio Ranieri’s difficult title defence but has been revitalised since Shakespeare’s appointment as interim manager in February.

And Shakespeare insists the striker can frustrate Wenger for the second time in 12 months as Leicester prepare to face the FA Cup finalists. 

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“Thankfully he chose us and I don’t think it [the Arsenal interest] was the reason for the slow start because he wasn’t the only one,” he said.

“At the moment, he’s banging in the goals and we need that to continue from now to the end of the season.

“I’m reluctant to say he’s back to his absolute best as I want more from him, but his goalscoring of late has been very good. “I think strikers go through purple patches, then there are the dark times when whatever they hit doesn’t go in. “Now you see a player full of confidence and full of running, we need a Jamie Vardy threatening defenders, getting on the shoulders and being a goal threat as well.”

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Leicester have only taken two points in five games off Arsenal since returning to the Premier League, and their last victory in 1994 was thanks to a David Seaman own goal.

But Shakespeare’s squad have the incentive of taking a large step towards securing survival if they can dent Wenger’s hopes of a top-four finish.

Shakespeare said: “I’m not sure how many points it will take and the weekend proved that. Teams are capable of winning games and putting points on the board. 

“We have to make sure we look after our own club. You are not sure what’s round the corner.”

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