Report: Arsenal face new club-record to sign target Guardiola called ‘an incredible player’
Arsenal would have to break their club-record spend to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, according to Leicestershire Live.
The 24-year-old has emerged as a summer transfer target for Mikel Arteta as he strives to improve the Gunners’ creativity. The Spaniard had been keen to retain Martin Odegaard, but the Real Madrid maestro is heading back to Spain.
Odegaard was Arteta’s first-choice after impressing during his half-season loan spell at the Emirates Stadium. But football.london and the Daily Mail both now cite Arsenal as marking Maddison as one of the club’s top targets.
The Daily Mail also noted that Arsenal figures are confident Maddison could be signed for around £60million. But Leicestershire Live expect that figure to be closer to the £80m that Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire in 2019.
Leicester feel Maddison is worth a similar sum to his England teammate having racked up a wealth of Premier League and international games, goals, assists and an FA Cup winners medal. He would also count as a homegrown player.
The King Power Stadium natives would also want Maddison to admit he sees his future elsewhere to sanction a move. Currently, Arsenal’s club-record spend is the £72m paid to Lille for Nicolas Pepe in 2019.
Leicester paid Norwich City £22m rising to £24m for Maddison in 2018. He has since offered 27 goals and 20 assists in 118 appearances in all competitions. He also extended his £110,000-per-week contract to 2024 last August.
Arsenal will expect Leicester to set high Maddison demand
Arsenal will have expected Leicester to set a high valuation on Maddison when they started to sound out a move. The Foxes are under no pressure to sell and clearly want the midfielder to stay if they are demanding a transfer request.
Leicester are also rivalling Arsenal for a place in the Premier League top-six and for European football. So Brendan Rodgers will likely be against strengthening a rival without feeling the Foxes are coming out of a deal strong.
Maddison signing a new contract last summer also shows he saw his future in the East Midlands. But Arsenal could yet prove an attractive destination for the one-cap England maestro to establish himself on the international stage.
Maddison would undoubtedly add the creativity in midfield that Arteta knows is lacking at Arsenal. He offered 11 goals and 10 assists last season, while Pep Guardiola once called him ‘an incredible player’, via Manchester Evening News.
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