Mikel Arteta is very keen to bring in the 24-year-old before the end of the summer transfer window and Maddison’s preferred number is now available at the Emirates
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Arsenal have reportedly opened negotiations with James Maddison over a summer transfer, with the midfielder’s dream number currently vacant at the Emirates.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is keen to bring in a creative midfielder before the window ends on August 31, with the 24-year-old top of the his wishlist.
Lack of creativity has been a big issue for the North London side, who failed to create enough chances during the first half of the 2020/21 season.
This issue was partly resolved in January as the club secured the loan signing of Martin Odegaard, but with the Norwegian back at Real Madrid, Arsenal have turned their attention to main target Maddison.
According to football.london, Arsenal have made a player-plus-cash offer to Leicester for the English midfielder and Maddison remains keen on the move.
However, negotiations are extremely slow and Leicester are adamant that they need at least £60million for their player, who they signed for £20million from Norwich in 2018, and remains under contract until 2024.
That could prove a sticking point for Arsenal having just splashed £50m on Ben White, but they hope to reduce the fee for Maddison by offering a star in return.
Maddison currently wears the no.10 shirt at Leicester, but the midfielder has stated according to Leicestershire live that he does not play in a no.10 role, and that he suits a different position.
When asked about his preferred position, Maddison said: “Number eight definitely. I played as a No.10 at the start of last season, and then when the gaffer [Rodgers] came in, I transitioned into a No.8, and sometimes I play off the left.”
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Coincidentally, following the loan departure of Dani Ceballos back to Real Madrid, Arsenal’s no.8 shirt has become vacant and could be reserved for Maddison if they were to get their man.
Maddison confirmed his desired role as he continued to say: “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.”
Despite the speculation and the reported offer by Arsenal, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has said that Maddison will not be leaving the club after talks with the King Power bosses.
Rodgers said: “In conversations with the club, we don’t have to sell. That’s something that’s been made clear.”
He continued by responding to reports that certain players including Maddison had been linked elsewhere, and confirmed: “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.”
Leicester may be tempted to sell if the right offer was made, but it would have to be in excess of £60million, and Arsenal are also reportedly offering a player in the deal, with either Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson or Eddie Nketiah rumoured to be included.
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