Today’s match between Chelsea and Leicester City is a big one for both clubs. The Foxes need a win to take first place back from Arsenal while the Blues, currently just a point away from the relegation zone are also desperately looking for a similar result to rise above the danger area.
Nevertheless, the big story on Monday will be the Jamie Vardy’s encounter with Mourinho. The Chelsea manager has recently hinted that his club might be after Vardy’s signature for as soon as the January transfer window.
“He is top scorer, and it is normal big clubs want him,” Mourinho said about Vardy. “It is a beautiful story, and his record is historic.”
According to Metro, the Leicester striker is now valued at £25million, an incredible increase of stock, taking into consideration that his market value according to Transfermarkt was of around £1.4million in February of 2015.
This could be a chance for Vardy to show Mourinho that he can live up to the hype and be a protagonist in a top club. Nonetheless, there is also the possibility that Vardy might not be interested in playing for Chelsea.
Knowing that bids from major clubs would soon be arriving, Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has already talked to his star and laid out what sticking with Leicester could mean for Vardy.
“If you go to a big team and stay on the bench, do you feel good or not?” Ranieri said. “Now they are the kings here. In another side would they be the king or something else?
“That is important. I want ambitious men but it is also important they understand where Leicester is going. I think we are building a very good construction.
“I understand if somebody wants to go, but I believe in the next years Leicester, slowly, slowly, can grow up and battle at the top.”
Ranieri does have a point. The Foxes have all of the brute material to become a contender, especially on the offensive side. People keep talking about Vardy, and he deserves it for breaking the record and maintaining his incredible string of performances, but the hidden story here is Riyad Mahrez.
Shadowed by Vardy’s scoring, Mahrez is arguably one of the most efficient players in the Premier League. The 24-year-old winger is not only third on the scoring list with ten goals scored, but also third in the top assists list with six assists so far this season.
Back to Vardy’s, today’s match could make a significant difference in his decision of staying or leaving. Currently, with Leicester, he is fighting for a championship. They have a tough run of matches against Everton, Liverpool, and Manchester City until the halfway mark of the Premier League. But the Foxes have a real shot at starting 2016 at the top of the standings while Chelsea is desperately trying to evade the drop zone.
Should Leicester win against Chelsea, Vardy would have to consider where he would get a better shot at a championship. And even if Leicester fails to hold on to the top of the standings, he should get offers from clubs not going through Chelsea’s troubles in the summer transfer window.