Sam Allardyce explains why West Ham didn't sign Jamie Vardy

Manager Sam Allardyce of West Ham United rubs his face and looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Crystal Palace at Boleyn Ground on April 19,...

Jamie Vardy has scored 85 Premier League goals for Leicester City but it could have been so different had he joined West Ham United in 2012 instead.

Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (R) celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at...

Sam Allardyce has admitted that he missed the chance to sign Jamie Vardy for West Ham United for just £1 million, while speaking to Alan Brazil on talkSPORT (5 November, 9.30am).

The phrase ‘sliding doors’ comes to mind.

Back in the summer of 2012, Leicester City raised eyebrows all over the UK when they invested £1 million in a little-known non-league striker by the name of Jamie Vardy. That made the then-Fleetwood Town star the most expensive non-league player in history.

 

But it’s fair to say the risk reaped rewards. Just four years later, Vardy was lifting the Premier League title aloft, firing Leicester to glory with 24 goals as The Foxes produced one of the greatest sporting miracles of our time.

Yet it could have been oh-so different had Allardyce, not to mention West Ham co-owner David Sullivan, taken the plunge on a player whose rapid rise has been so dramatic that it sparked talk of a Hollywood blockbuster.

“(Then-Fleetwood manager) Micky Mellon rang up and said ‘give us £1 million, it will be the best signing you’ve ever made’,” said the former England manager.

“I tell you now, that was quite a lot of money for a non-league player then.”

Jamie Vardy of Fleetwood Town celebrates after scoring his goal during the FA Cup sponsored by Budweiser third round match between Fleetwood Town and Blackpool at Highbury Stadium on...

“I just wondered whether Jamie could jump out of the conference (straight to the Premier League) so I didn’t do it.

“I went to David Sullivan and he went; ‘non league player, a million pounds? Will he go straight in your team?’. I’ve been kicking myself ever since.”

Vardy has gone on to score 85 goals in less than six-and-a-half Premier League seasons with Leicester and, thanks to that clinching strike away at Crystal Palace on Sunday, he became the first player to hit double figures in England’s top flight in 2019/20.

Jamie Vardy of Leicester City scores his team's fifth goal past Angus Gunn of Southampton during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Leicester City at St Mary's Stadium on...

Have something to tell us about this article?

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch