Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has said he is delighted Jamie Vardy opted to stay with the club, adding that the striker “is a king.”
Vardy, 29, was targeted by Arsenal this summer with Leicester’s Premier League rivals activating his £22 million release clause after he netted 24 top-flight goals in 2015-16.
However, the England international opted to remain with last season’s title winners by signing a new contract at the King Power Stadium.
“I am very happy,” Ranieri said in the Daily Mirror during the club’s preseason training camp in Austria.
“He enjoys it a lot here — he is a king and he is happy. Thank you to him and his family because it was important. He made a fantastic choice.
“I believe in the man. You imagine, he came from a little team and came right to the top, and then a big team wants you but you stay — that is unbelievable.
“It is fantastic because Jamie is one of our points of reference. Of course, all his teammates are happy and he gave us a lot of energy to have another good season.
“Maybe it is because he started from the bottom and now we are his family. It is the first time in the Champions League too and he wants to stay together.”
The Italian said: “We offered a new contract to him, he went away because he wanted to finish Euro 2016.
“I don’t want to lose him but I can understand if he wants to go. At this point I hope we offer the maximum. I want him here.
“I would like now to be sure who stays with me or not because now the friendlies start and I have to start to manage.”
Ranieri added that he hopes to sign a new contract with Leicester, having taken over at the club last summer, before they begin the new season at Hull City on Aug. 13.
He said: “I want to stay here a long time. I think before we start the season, I will sign.”