James Maddison tops Arsenal’s transfer wishlist with their main target Martin Odegaard returning to Real Madrid… but Gunners will have to stump up a big fee after Leicester rejected £70MILLION bid for him last summer
- Arsenal are keen to sign James Maddison from Leicester in the summer window
- Leicester rejected a £70million offer from another club this time last year
- Arsenal believe a deal can be struck if they can present the right offer to Foxes
- Gunners are keen to replace loanee Martin Odegaard, who is back at Real Madrid
Odegaard has returned to Real Madrid after a successful loan spell last term and the Gunners are desperate to find a No 10 to replace him, with Maddison high on their list.
Maddison signed a new four-year deal at Leicester worth about £100,000 a week last summer and scored or assisted 14 goals in 16 matches between December and February, before a recurrence of a hip problem effectively ended his chances of a place in the England squad for Euro 2020.
James Maddison is a target for Arsenal this summer as they look to replace Martin Odegaard
Maddison won the FA Cup with Leicester at the end of last season, beating Chelsea in the final
The 24-year-old’s contractual position, and his homegrown status, means Leicester would be in an extremely strong bargaining position. They are thought to have rejected an offer from another club worth about £70million last summer.
Yet Sportsmail understands Arsenal believe there may be a deal to be struck if they can present the right offer.
Maddison had been central to Brendan Rodgers’ plans ever since the Foxes boss left Celtic for the King Power Stadium in February 2019, though he struggled to regain his place in the team when he recovered from the hip problem and was left out of the starting XI for the FA Cup Final.
Maddison came on in the second half to help Leicester clinch the trophy for the first time in their history but is thought to have been hugely disappointed to be on the bench initially.
Arsenal had Odegaard last season, but he has returned to Real Madrid this summer
Maddison (right) would cost a big sum, with Leicester having turned down £70m last summer
After Maddison was left off England’s long list for the tournament last month, Rodgers said: ‘The one thing you can control as a football player is your fitness.
‘There are things in the game you cannot control if you’re a player, you can’t control the tactics the manager chooses, what position you play in, but you can control your mentality and your fitness.
‘This will be a great summer for him to get back. He’ll be able to get to that level of fitness that’s required, and when he does that, you’ve seen the level he can play his game.
‘I’m pretty sure he will get back to a level. It’s just been unfortunate for him that he hasn’t been able to get back to the level of fitness that he was at prior to his injury.
‘And the nature of what I want from the team and the numbers I’m getting from my sports science and medical teams, he’s not been hitting that level in order to play his game.’
Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen his side for a push back towards the top four in the league