The coach and sporting director of German club RB Leipzig Ralf Rangnick has claimed he turned down the chance to sign Jamie Vardy two years ago – because the Leicester attacker was too old.
Vardy has scored 22 goals in 34 Premier League appearances for leaders Leicester this season, but the 29-year-old might have been playing in the German second tier had Rangnick not refused to sign players over a certain age.
“We desperately wanted to sign Joe Gomez, who later chose Liverpool, and we were flying back from London to Leipzig with his agent,” said Rangnick.
“In the plane, the agent said to me ‘Mr Rangnick, it’s a crying shame that you are so radical about who you sign and only go for players who are under 24 because I’ve got somebody who would be just perfect for you. I can guarantee he would become a national team player under you, but he’s already 27.’ It was Jamie Vardy.”
Rangnick recalled himself replying: “No, he’s 27 – we’re not doing it.”
Vardy instead stayed with the Foxes, scoring five goals in his first Premier League campaign before spearheading Leicester’s unlikely title challenge the following season.