This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Jamie Vardy’s rise through English football’s non-league system has been well documented in recent years. The former Stockbridge Park Steels striker was a ruthless attacker in the lower reaches of the footballing pyramid, scoring goals for fun as Fleetwood Town earned promotion to League Two from the National League in 2012.
A 31 goal haul during that memorable season for the Cod Army earned Vardy a £1m move to Leicester City – then of the Championship – ahead of the 2012-13 campaign. It took the Sheffield-born frontman a while to fully settle into his new surroundings in the East Midlands, understandably considering the massive difference in standard he had been used to with the likes of Halifax Town and Fleetwood prior to his move to the King Power.
Vardy started 17 of Leicester’s 35 league matches during his opening campaign, scoring four goals and providing four assists for the Foxes (per Transfermarkt). The following season, he started 36 games and found the net 16 times, alongside laying off 10 assists as Leicester earned promotion to the top-flight of English football.
The rest, as they say, is history. Vardy has gone on to become a superstar in the Premier League, scoring a total of 86 goals in the country’s top-tier. He is a Premier League winner, after that memorable campaign in 2015-16 which saw the Foxes beat the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham to the league title, and was a regular fixture in the England set-up until his retirement from international football in 2018 – scoring seven goals in 26 appearances for the Three Lions’ senior side.
Vardy is now valued at £18m by Transfermarkt, making his £1m fee seven years ago seem like the biggest bargain in recent history. Indeed, pundit Tony Cascarino recently backed (per the Times) the player to join the Premier League’s exclusive 100 club and Brendan Rodgers described (per the Leicester Mercury) him as ‘world-class’.
The 31-year-old will go down in history for his unique rise to Premier League stardom, with talks of a film even being made to honour his unorthodox journey to the top; not bad for a player who was playing in the country’s eighth-tier just nine years ago.
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