Arsenal could struggle to tempt Leicester City into selling James Maddison this summer, with the Foxes only willing to accept a ‘crazy’ offer for the 24-year-old, according to reports. Maddison has been heavily linked with a move to north London in recent weeks as the Gunners look to add some much-needed creativity to their ranks ahead of next season.
Mikel Arteta is reportedly aiming to lead a large-scale overhaul of his playing squad over the coming weeks and months.
A number of problem areas will need to be addressed by club director Edu, who will be looking to use the transfer market to his advantage in order to improve on last season’s eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.
Arsenal are already believed to be closing in on their first two signings of the summer window, with Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga and Benfica full-back Nuno Tavares set to join the club in the near future.
However, it seems as though a creative playmaker is also high on Edu’s shopping list following the departure of Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard at the end of last season.
Maddison has reportedly emerged as a target for Arsenal after making a name for himself as one of the Premier League’s finest No 10s with Leicester.
The 24-year-old chipped in with 21 goal contributions from 42 appearances in all competitions last season as the Foxes secured Europa League qualification and lifted the FA Cup.
Although the Gunners are said to be keen admirers of Maddison, transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has suggested that a summer move for the midfielder’s services will be difficult to engineer.
He told the Eye to Eye Podcast that Leicester will only entertain premium bids for the former Norwich City man before the start of next season, with club chiefs convinced that he will remain at the King Power Stadium for the foreseeable future.
“Well, the truth is that the player is appreciated and that Arsenal are looking for a player in this position because they lost Martin Odegaard,” said Romano.
“And they need a new No 10, and Maddison is highly appreciated, this is true.
“However, from appreciating a player to signing a player there is a lot to do. And at the moment it is really complicated.
“At the moment, and I say at the moment because we’re in July and we have two months of the market ahead, so we have to see what happens in the next week, but at the moment Leicester are convinced the player is staying and they’re not intentioned to sell him.
“So they want a crazy bid, and at the moment Arsenal have not made an official bid.”
It remains to be seen whether the Gunners will eventually act on their reported interest in Maddison or switch their focus onto other targets.
Meanwhile, former Premier League striker Gabriel Agbonlahor recently suggested that the move is unlikely to come to fruition as a result of Arsenal’s recent shortcomings.
“Leicester are in Europe, Arsenal aren’t,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider. “Leicester are a top-six team, Arsenal aren’t. I just don’t see that happening.
“Leicester can pay very big wages, I’ve heard from people there. Maddison will be on very good money and probably more than Arsenal can pay him, to be honest.
“For me, that transfer doesn’t happen. Not one bit.”