Belfast Telegraph

Brendan Rodgers 'very much' intent on staying at Leicester despite Arsenal interest

Brendan Rodgers insists he is staying at Leicester (Nigel French/PA)
Brendan Rodgers insists he is staying at Leicester (Nigel French/PA)

Brendan Rodgers has poured cold water on links to the vacant managerial job at Arsenal.

The Carnlough man initially caused a stir after his Leicester City side's dramatic, last gasp 2-1 win over Everton on Sunday afternoon by indicating that there is a release clause in his contract at the King Power Stadium.

However, when asked more about the Emirates club's interest in subsequent interviews, Rodgers underlined his loyalty to the club he joined just nine months ago.

"My focus is very much here with Leicester,” he said. “The club has been first class with me. The project feels very exciting with a lot of development ahead.

“I’m very much (here to stay). I left a club eight and a half months ago and that was a change I made to come to a club with ambition. And it is a huge challenge here to break into the top six. I’ve loved every minute since I’ve come here. We’ve got work to do but I’m excited."

Next up for Leicester is a home game against bottom side Watford, who are expected to have Chris Hughton appointed as manager in time for y evening.

Rodgers maintains that the Arsenal links are not compromising his ability to carry out his current role.

“(The speculation) doesn’t annoy me," he said. "I don’t think so much about it. It’s not in my control. I came here to help the project and see if we could bring it forward. I’m at a great club. I absolutely love it here.

“It seems now you’re talking about a manager losing their job all the time and looking to be replaced. Names will get thrown right, left and centre. For the Arsenal job there are probably about ten names.

“Me, I’m just concentrating on Leicester.”

It would be a significant blow to Leicester if Rodgers was to jump ship but it would also be a surprise move, given the start to the season his side has made.

With 14 games played, the Foxes are the nearest challengers to league leaders Liverpool, eight points behind, three ahead of pre-season favourites Manchester City and a whopping 13 ahead of Arsenal.

They also boast the best defensive record in the league and the second best attack.

Little wonder Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher is urging Rodgers to stay put, for now at least.

"I don’t think it’s right if Brendan Rodgers is even thinking about moving to Arsenal right now," he said on Sky Sports.

"Whether it was right or wrong, he got a lot of criticism from Celtic supporters for moving on before he finished the season, it was a tough decision for him because this job was the job everyone wanted, managers who couldn’t get a top-six job.

"I think if he moved now he’d almost get that tag of jumping ship very quickly from places. I think he’s got to look at the next 18 months and think he’s really going to do something at Leicester.

"And maybe after those 18 months if a Tottenham, Arsenal, obviously he’s not going back to Liverpool, Manchester United could never happen, Manchester City… I don’t know. He’s going to want to go to one of those real big clubs, that’s just a fact."

Massimiliano Allegri is still the bookies' favourite to become the next permanent Arsenal manager, without a club since leaving Juventus in the summer.

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