The Gunners triggered the England international's release clause but he refused to leave Leicester City and now wants to be part of the next chapter of the Foxes' journey
After playing a crucial role in last season's surprising Premier League title win, the England international was the subject of a bid from the Gunners which triggered his £22 million release clause.
Instead, the striker opted to remain at the King Power Stadium and signed a new deal with the Foxes.
And Vardy, 29, says it was an easy decision to make.
“I was in a hotel room [in Chantilly] for so many hours of every day with nothing to do. You had a lot of time on your hands," he told The Guardian.
“I am not going to beat around the bush – every time I thought about it, and every aspect of it I thought about, both my head and my heart were saying to stay at Leicester, which is why I made my decision to stay.
“There were loads of reasons. You get that much time to think about, every single thing down to the tea lady. You think about what might happen, what might not. Where you could be, where not. Every time I thought about every little thing, though, both head and heart were saying ‘you need to stay’.
"I could see people’s point when they assumed I would go, but, deep down, if you don’t think it’s right for you, you don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.
“In my professional life, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I haven’t been a professional for that long. It was hard, but it was actually an easy decision to make.”
The frontman saw Arsene Wenger a lot during Euro 2016 as they were in the same hotel, both before and after Arsenal's offer was made. But Vardy says he could not pass up the chance to be part of the next chapter in Leicester's journey.
“I spoke to him a couple of times in the hotels we were in,” he said. “Those meetings were either side of me making the decision: it was basically in every hotel we were staying in.
"It wasn’t awkward, though. It was just a simple ‘Hello, are you OK’... that kind of thing. I took it as a nice compliment they wanted to buy me.
“Leicester have been on the rise for a while now and will keep doing that. Look at the deals they did in the transfer window: they obviously want to keep it going. And, if it does keep going, I want to be part of that. I’ve been there from when I was at Fleetwood Town, five years ago, when we were in the Championship and we have gone up and up and up.
“We are a group of brothers and lots of the lads have signed long-term deals now, which the gaffer wanted. To only lose [N’Golo] Kante from a Premier League-winning team is not that bad, so hopefully it will carry on. That is something I want to be part of.”