Chelsea move could kill Jamie Vardy’s career

Photo Credit: Pioeb, Wikimedia Commons
Photo Credit: Pioeb, Wikimedia Commons /

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hinted that the club may chase Leicester striker Jamie Vardy in the January transfer window

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy is unquestionably talented enough to play up top at Chelsea. Moving to the West London club wouldn’t be a good fit for the English striker though. In fact, it’s a poor enough fit that it might ruin his fairytale season.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is rumored to be looking at Vardy to fill his team’s chasm at the striker position. At first glance, it’s a transfer that makes a lot of sense. Chelsea needs some pace injected into its attack and their forward options have been far from dynamic over the course of the season. Vardy is one of the Premier League’s paciest strikers and he’s been in unbelievable form for the Foxes. Since Chelsea obviously needs a striker and Vardy is a good one, the idea that he could fill a need for Chelsea isn’t that far-fetched.

However, the more I think about the possibility of the Englishman going to play for Mourinho the more I dislike it from Vardy’s perspective. Not only do I think it might end his fairytale season, I think it might do irreparable damage to his career moving forward.

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The biggest concern for Vardy moving to Chelsea wouldn’t necessarily be his on-field fit. Instead, the biggest danger would be how he’d fit into the atmosphere at Jose Mourinho’s club. It’s fair to say that the difference in the vibes between Leicester and Chelsea at the moment is even larger than the difference between the two clubs in the current Premier League table. I’m not sure it’s a gap that Vardy would be able to bridge.

Vardy has always been a player with a mammoth-sized chip on his shoulder. That’s how he has been able to make his meteoric rise to stardom from non-league football. He isn’t the sort of player that’s had the slightest bit of entitlement in his career. He’s needed to grind, scratch and claw for everything. That philosophy plays perfectly at a club like Leicester. He plays with a group of guys who, compared to most Premier League players, are pretty anonymous. They know they aren’t the biggest names in the league and they don’t earn the biggest wages. Those facts fuel their ability to compete with their world-class competitors.

Chelsea is the polar opposite of that mindset. The money and resources at the club give the entire place a sense of entitlement. That’s not a value judgment on the Chelsea culture, it’s just an observation of fact. Their fans, players and ownership feel that the number of dollars they spend entitles them to be Premier League title contenders. They may be right in that sense of entitlement, but it’s still not something that will coalesce with Vardy’s mental makeup.

Frankly, I worry about his ability to get along with the players at the club. He’s from the figurative “wrong side of the tracks” compared to the rich and famous players at Chelsea. Is there anyone at Stamford Bridge that we really think Vardy would have a lot in common with?

What’s more, Vardy has something of a checkered past. He’s matured greatly as he’s gotten older, but he’s certainly a fighter. That can be a great attribute, but of course, it can also be taken too far. He’s not going to back down from the locker room leaders at Chelsea if he ends up there and I’m not sure that would fly in the locker room of the defending Premier League champions.

At this stage in his career, Vardy can’t afford a transfer misstep. This is his one, big opportunity to move to a big club and sign a big contract. Note, I’m not advocating that he should leave Leicester, but I am saying that if he’s going to it must happen in the next two transfer windows.

That means if he goes to Chelsea and it doesn’t work out then he’s put a cap on how people will feel about his career forever. If he can’t come anywhere near replicating the form he’s shown for Leicester then most fans will label him as a one-year wonder. That wouldn’t be fair, but it’d be Vardy’s new reality. If he wants to be remembered as a great Premier League player he must find success wherever he plays next season.

Maybe his legacy isn’t important to Vardy. Perhaps he’s just looking for the most financial security he can find with his next contract and if so, Chelsea could certainly be the best place for him.

I hope he’s interested in more than that though. I hope he wants to cement his legacy as more than just a Premier League flash-in-the-pan. I want to believe that he values his career over dollars. If that’s the case, he’d be wise to avoid a move to Chelsea. Doing so, might just kill his career.