Brendan Rodgers was already in contract talks with Leicester City before Arsenal sacked Unai Emery but it was clear to them it wouldn’t be long before the Gunners came calling.
Brendan Rodgers has been linked with the Arsenal job since before Unai Emery was handed it after Arsene Wenger left.
He was widely dismissed by fans and many on the Arsenal board because of his personality but the job he has done at Leicester this season has made him hard to ignore.
As Arsenal picked up the pieces after hitting a new low on Thursday night against Brighton, the Foxes announced that they had got the Northern Irish man to extend his deal by signing a new five-and-a-half deal, largely in part to ward off interest from the Gunners we were told.
But it seems he was already in contract talks with Leicester before Unai Emery was sacked and it emerged Arsenal might want him.
“Yes. Of course [negotiations have been happening for a few weeks] I wasn’t going to tell you that and go public on so much,” he said told the Leicester Mercury.
“I’m honoured the club have been happy with our work since we came in, the relationships are strong and open, it’s very clean and simple.
“I’m delighted to commit to the next five-and-a-half years here, it’s been absolutely brilliant since I came in. I’m so happy to work with players, individually and as a team, they have been amazing.
“The key thing for me was the potential here. There’s so much scope and room to develop the club, like we’ve been trying to do since we came in.
“We have identified a style of play to improve players and get results, while there is also the excitement of the new training facility and the growth of the stadium, and we will see if we can establish ourselves at the top end over the coming years, so I’m absolutely delighted.”
Of course, a few weeks ago it was clear that Emery’s job was on the line so it’s not a huge leap to suggest that there is some connection here. However, it is no surprise Leicester have moved to tie him down while the Arsenal board were still saying they’d give Emery more time.
Leicester are in second place, three points ahead of City and six ahead of Chelsea (16 ahead of Arsenal if you really want to depress yourself).
They’ve conceded the fewest number of goals in the Premier League so far this season (9) while only Liverpool and City have scored more.
Arsenal, meanwhile, sit mid-table with a minus two goal difference having conceded more than Liverpool, Leicester, City, Chelsea, Wolves, United, Palace, Sheffield United, Newcastle, Brighton, and Bournemouth.
“We want to keep progressing,” Rodgers added.
“This club had the high of a few years ago, which was incredible, and obviously the low which was devastating.
“I came in and looked to build on the incredible legacy of Vichai and when I speak to Top [Aiyawatt “Top” Srivaddhanaprabha] I understand exactly where they want to go, fighting at the top of the division.
“We don’t have the resources. We’re a wealthy club with fantastic owners, but we don’t have the finances of a top six club.
“However can we do it in a different way, through developing players, making them better, having a game that makes you able to challenge at the top?
“I hope we can keep breaking records and if we can win trophies, great.
“We hope to be in a healthy position at the top end of the table, competing and fighting, which is important.
“In football now, time is precious. The club want to grow and develop, we know it won’t always be as smooth as it has been.
“However, we understand the direction we want to go in and having that ownership gives you great confidence as a manager and as a coach that you can progress together.”
Sounds nice, eh?
Meanwhile at Arsenal, they have more problems than they can count.