Thursday, 17 May 2012

City break non-league transfer record

Leicester City have secured a record-breaking deal, as they have made their third signing of this summer.

The Foxes have bid a reported £1 million for Fleetwood Town striker Jamie Vardy and agreed terms with the player at the King Power Stadium yesterday. The deal has broken the transfer record for a player from the non-league system and will be a major fillip for the Cod Army's first Football League pre-season.

Record breaker: Jamie Vardy has signed for the Foxes

The 25-year-old striker netted 34 goals this season to help Fleetwood to promotion and has signed a three-year deal with City. Born in Sheffield, Vardy was released by Wednesday's academy and found his way to Stocksbridge Park Steels. After scoring 66 goals in just 107 appearances for the South Yorkshire outfit he moved to Halifax Town in 2010 and scored an impressive 29 goals in 41 games for the Shaymen. He moved to Fleetwood for an undisclosed fee the following summer and his impressive record attracted Nigel Pearson as early as January, when a bid for Vardy was turned-down by the Lancashire club.

"I got to sit down for a chat with Nigel and this is where I wanted to come," Vardy said, "You see the facilities and I thought, 'yes, I can see myself playing here'. And obviously because the manager wanted me as well it made the decision easier. He said he'd been watching me for quite a while, obviously if I've caught his eye I must have been doing something right."

Having scored against Championship Blackpool in the FA Cup Fylde derby earlier in the year, Vardy feels ready to challenge at the highest level - as Fleetwood chairman Andy Pilley attests.

"We always knew that Jamie was going to move on this pre-season," he told BBC Lancashire, "We wish him well because he's been fantastic for the club. We've fought for good terms and we're pleased with the compensation that we've got. He's been absolutely amazing and a lot of supporters will say he's the best player ever that has ever played for Fleetwood."

Meanwhile the club have finally confirmed the departures of Steve Howard, Matt Oakley and Aleksandar Tunchev whose contracts expire at the end of June. Additionally, striker Darius Vassell, goalkeeper Chris Weale and youth product Elliott Chamberlain have not been offered new deals and are free to look for new clubs. Weale is thought to be in talks over a move to Yeovil Town in his native Somerset.
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