Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has made it one of his several missions this summer to add a new central attacking-midfielder to his ranks.
The Gunners boss, who saw his side finish eighth in the Premier League table last term, is desperate to add fresh blood to his squad this summer in a bid to transform the club’s fortunes and restore some much-needed pride.
Arteta has already sealed deals for talented young duo Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga, with Brighton defender Ben White also nearing a move to the Emirates Stadium.
football.london reported back in May that the Spaniard also wants to add a creative midfielder this summer, and former loanee Martin Odegaard looks set to stay at Real Madrid next season
As an alternative, the Gunners could turn to Leicester City ace James Maddison. The Foxes star is understood to be on the Gunners’ radar and Arteta is a big fan of him.
With that said, here is a round-up of all the very latest on Maddison’s future and the Gunners’ interest in his signature.
Maddison on Arteta’s radar
football.london 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 has 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.
Source by Football London