Arsenal trigger Jamie Vardy's release clause at Leicester City - sources
Arsenal have triggered the release clause of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy, multiple sources at the London club have confirmed to ESPN FC.
The Guardian was the first to report that Arsenal are pursuing Vardy, who scored 24 goals in leading Leicester to their Premier League title this season.
Vardy has a release clause in his contract that would allow him to go to teams playing in the Champions League for £22 million, a source said.
But in winning the Premier League, Leicester will also be in the Champions League next season, leaving the striker with a decision to make on his future.
Leicester remain interested in retaining Vardy, the Guardian reported. Heading into the January transfer window, reports said Leicester wanted at least £30m for the 29-year-old's services.
After staying with Leicester, Vardy in February signed an improved three-and-a-half-year contract that pays him £80,000 a week.
Any transfer fee would be a tremendous return on the investment of Leicester, who plucked Vardy from nonleague obscurity for just £1m in 2012.
A few hours before the Guardian's report, betting odds on Vardy joining Arsenal were shortened to 8/13 "after a flurry of large bets," according to Sky.
Former Leicester and England striker Gary Lineker urged Vardy to stay at the King Power Stadium.
In response to broadcaster Piers Morgan, who wrote on Twitter "Come on @vardy7 - let's do this", Lineker challenged Vardy to turn down the advances from north London.
Vardy indicated in early May that he had no desire to leave Leicester, saying at the time: "We've just won the league and will be playing in the Champions League next year. I am happy here."
But Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri does not intend to stand in the way of any player keen to move on.
"If they go away, it is not good for them. It is much better if they improve another year here and then go wherever they want," Ranieiri said. "But I have said so many times if one player comes to me and says 'Gaffer, I want to go,' then I leave him to go because it is OK."
ESPN FC correspondents Miguel Delaney and Peter O'Rourke contributed to this report.