Transfer Talk: Jamie Vardy faces tough decision with Leicester in Championship | LiveScore
Not even Premier League legend Jamie Vardy could save Leicester from suffering relegation last season.
The 2015-16 title winner, 36, was powerless as the Foxes dropped down to the Championship just two years after they won the FA Cup under Brendan Rodgers.
Ahead of a pivotal summer transfer window for the club, we take a look at what the future might hold for their ageing striker.
The 2022-23 campaign was Vardy’s worst in a Leicester shirt.
In 37 Premier League appearances, totaling 1,851 minutes of action, the former England ace scored only three goals.
He was restricted to just 15 shots on target , while only completing 12 of his 26 attempted take-ons — a sign that his trademark pace is starting to desert him.
Soon after Leicester’s relegation was confirmed on the final day of the season, Vardy apologised to the fans on social media.
The No9 wrote: “I really don’t know what to say other than I am really sorry that we didn’t deliver this season. We failed you, plain and simple.
“Accountability needs and should be taken by us all. It was our responsibility to just do our jobs and we clearly didn’t.
“There are no excuses and no words that will ever make this situation OK. Now is a time for personal reflections and let the magnitude of this situation sink in.”
Remaining at the King Power Stadium still seems a likely outcome for Vardy this summer.
The Sheffield-born marksman has just one-year remaining on his contract and interest in him is unlikely to be high — particularly from top-flight teams.
And helping to fire Leicester back into the Premier League under new manager Enzo Maresca would certainly be a fitting way to end his 12-year stay at the club.
However, Vardy’s wages could be a significant issue for the East Midlands outfit, despite the fact they will reportedly halve from £140,000-per-week to £70k-per-week due to a relegation clause.
That salary would still make him one of the highest-paid players in the Championship and the Foxes may be eager to get him off the books and invest in a younger, cheaper striker.
Blackpool ace Jerry Yates, 26, has already been linked with a move to the club.
One team who could perhaps take a punt on Vardy is his boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday, who he represented at youth level.
The Owls secured promotion to the Championship courtesy of a dramatic League One play-off campaign, where they beat Peterborough and Barnsley.
But Vardy would have to take a significant pay-cut in order to move to Hillsborough — and the club probably want a younger profile to bolster the forward line.
Their current centre forward options in Callum Paterson, Michael Smith and Lee Gregory are all aged 28 or older.
This summer represents possibly the final big decision of Vardy’s career.
Remaining at Leicester may very well be the final call, especially as the club will look to remedy their financial situation by selling the likes of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho.
And Vardy’s experience in the second tier, where he scored 21 goals in 63 games for the Foxes, could be of vital importance in 2023-24.