James Maddison to Arsenal transfer: Leicester swap offer, player's stance on move, £60m demand
All the very latest news concerning Arsenal's interest in Leicester City ace James Maddison as manager Mikel Arteta looks to strengthen his squad with new additions this summer
Slowly but surely, Arsenal's squad ahead of the start of the 2021/22 Premier League campaign is beginning to take shape.
The Gunners, who kick-off their Premier League schedule against Brentford in less than three weeks' time, have so far completed two signings in the summer transfer window - Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Their arrivals at the Emirates Stadium have significantly bolstered two areas within the squad that were in serious need of improvement, meaning the central attacking-midfield berth is now amongst the other areas that manager Mikel Arteta wishes to upgrade.
Amongst his targets to bolster that particular area of the team is Leicester City star James Maddison.
Maddison is understood to sit at the very top of Arsenal's wish list when it comes to strengthening the No.10 role and the Gunners are keen on landing him.
With that in mind, here is a round-up of everything we know so far concerning Maddison's future and Arsenal's interest in him.
Maddison on Arteta's radar
JoriPress understands that the Leicester star is indeed on Arteta's wish list.
The Spaniard is a big fan of Maddison and would be open to the idea of adding him to his squad if he could get a deal over the line.
However, a lot of work would be required as his value is certainly a lot higher than what the club could currently afford without cutting their cloth beforehand.
Swap deal mooted
Arsenal are willing to offer several unwanted players to Leicester in a bid to tempt the Foxes into parting ways with their playmaking maestro, according to the Daily Mail.
Hale End graduates Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson are two players that the Gunners are thought to be willing to include as part of a deal given they are both seemingly surplus to requirements at the Emirates Stadium.
Nelson was highly thought of when coming through the ranks at the north London club but has struggled for game time since being promoted to the first-team squad in the summer of 2017, failing to make a single Premier League start last term.
Meanwhile, Maitland-Niles has made it no secret of his desire to play in midfield and given Arteta has rarely deployed him in the middle of the park a player-plus-cash bid involving the 23-year-old could make sense for all parties.
The report also claims that the Gunners would have to offer in excess of £50million to land Maddison this summer.
Maddison opens up on his favourite position
Despite being renowned as a modern-day No.10 that tends to play behind the striker(s), Maddison does, in fact, see himself more as a No.8.
"No.8, definitely," Maddison once said of his favoured position to LeicestershireLive. "I played as a No.10 at the start of last season, and then when the gaffer [Brendan Rodgers] came in, I transitioned into a No.8, and sometimes I play off the left.
"I don’t want to be labelled as a No.10. I'm not a No.10. I can’t remember a game where I’ve played as a No.10 this season, maybe West Ham at home.
"Being a No.8 has made me add that defensive side to my game. I’m never going to be a big tackler, I’m never going to go around smashing people.
"It’s that awareness and that responsibility of getting little toes in, little interceptions, because as a number eight you find yourself deeper a lot, so I’ve had to add that."
With that said, making a move for Maddison could require extra thought from Arteta as to where he sees him fitting in his system, but it is likely that he would be required to operate as an advanced playmaker in north London.
Former Gunner sends message
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson heaped praise on Maddison amid links of a switch to the Emirates Stadium.
"James Maddison wasn’t called up by Gareth Southgate to represent England at Euro 2020," Merson told Sports Keeda. "So he will be fresh and raring to go ahead of the 2021-22 Premier League season.
"Before his unfortunate injury last season, he was absolutely flying for Leicester City and I got the feeling that he came back a bit too early. I like Maddison and I think he can make a real impact this season.
"He can really rip it up and will have an advantage over those who had international commitments earlier this summer, as those players may not start the forthcoming season for their respective clubs."
The silky playmaker notched 21 goals and assists last term, an incredibly impressive record considering he played some of those games in the aforementioned No.8 role.
Rodgers fires warning
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has previously admitted that he will not stand in the way of any player who does not want to stay at the King Power.
"If a player doesn’t want to be here, with all due respect, we don’t want them here. It’s as simple as that," Rodgers last summer.
"If (City sell), there’s always a premium for that player. Leicester have shown that, long before my time here. They’re very good from a business perspective."
"If there’s a player to go, they’ll look to get maximum value for that player."
There is currently no indication that the former Norwich City ace is seeking an exit from the east Midlands this summer but if Arsenal lodge a hefty bid this summer perhaps his head would be turned at the thought of playing for one of England's biggest clubs, despite the Gunners' recent struggles.
Arsenal's new stance after Smith Rowe decision
Following Emile Smith Rowe's contract extension being announced recently, Arsenal see the 20-year-old as their 'priority' to occupy the number 10 role going forward, the Athletic reported in July.
Maddison is of interest to the Gunners, but with Leicester reportedly demanding £60million for his services, the north London club could look elsewhere because of how highly they rate Smith Rowe.
Arsenal do, however, still want to sign another creative midfielder to support Smith Rowe, but they might not be willing to 'go to the level required' to sign Maddison.
Leicester 'open to offers'
According to a report by 90Min, Leicester are ready to 'listen to offers' for Maddison this summer if they are high enough.
As reported by football.london earlier this summer, the Foxes are set to demand at least £60million to even entertain the idea of losing one of their star assets, meaning the Gunners would have to be brave to stand any chance of making a deal possible.
But perhaps in a possible boost, Leicester are now reportedly prepared to 'listen' to bids that may come their way, meaning Edu may now be weighing up the Gunners' financial state and seeing if their is enough room in the kitty to make a move.
Rodgers' doubled down
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers reaffirmed his previous stance on selling any star players, including Maddison, stating that the club don't have to offload any player unless they chose to.
He said: "In conversations with the club, we don’t have to sell. That’s something that’s been made clear.
"The players want to stay. It's a really exciting time at the club.
"There’s lots of gossip and speculation around but I’m loving working with the guys here, they love being here, and we certainly have no need to sell. So I would suspect we’re looking to keep our best players."
Opening offer made
football.london understands that Arsenal have lodged an opening player-plus-cash bid for Maddison, with it currently unclear which player has been used as a makeweight.
Hale End graduates Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson have previously been linked with a move to the King Power Stadium, with the Foxes thought to have previously been interested in the versatile Maitland-Niles.
Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah are also among the players made available for transfer this summer and the later has just 12 months remaining on his current deal with the club.