Transfer Talk: Foxes would be Mad to sell James

Paige Simmonds
James Maddison has played a key role in Leicester's recent revival
James Maddison has played a key role in Leicester's recent revival

James Maddison is playing a vital role for Leicester but there are reports that the Foxes could be tempted to cash in this summer.

Arsenal are in the hunt for the talented midfielder and a big-money exit could finance a squad rebuild at the King Power Stadium.

But losing Maddison would rob Brendan Rodgers of his main creative spark and would be a huge risk with Youri Tielemans' future also up in the air.

With Rodgers' outfit set to take on PSV in their Europa Conference League quarter-final first leg, we take a look at the playmaker's future.

Fox in the box

Since signing in 2018, Maddison has been a vital cog in Leicester's engine room, racking up 29 strikes and 19 assists in 125 Premier League games.

The 25-year-old has 21 goal contributions in just 41 outings this season and is on course to beat his previous best campaign at the King Power Stadium which came last term (also 21).

His trademark free-kicks and dangerous runs from midfield are a key part of how Rodgers' side operate and his end product continues to improve.

But Leicester have struggled this season — and with European qualification looking a distant possibility, a squad overhaul could be on the cards.

Capital gains

Brendan Rodgers sets up Leicester to get the best out of James Maddison
Brendan Rodgers sets up Leicester to get the best out of James Maddison

Arsenal pushed hard to sign Maddison last summer but could not match Leicester's reported £60million valuation or tempt the Foxes into a swap deal.

The Gunners have since completed the permanent signing of Martin Odegaard and also have Emile Smith Rowe on their books but the midfield maestro continues to be linked with an Emirates switch.

A prospective deal could work for all three parties, with Maddison fitting Mikel Arteta's profile of hungry players with plenty of time left to develop and Leicester able to reinvest the money in strengthening their squad.

One potential stumbling block could be Tielemans' failure to agree an extension as, unlike his English team-mate, the Belgian is entering the final 12 months of his deal and may need to be sold this summer.

The Foxes will be keen not to lose two of their gifted operators in one window but Maddison, who has also been linked with Real Madrid and Manchester United, may think he needs to join a top club to continue his development.

After Leicester's draw at Old Trafford, former United midfielder Luke Chadwick said: "James Maddison impressed me. For me, without a doubt, he’s a player who has the talent to move to a bigger club.

"You could see at the weekend what a talent he is, he finds fantastic positions between the lines, and he sees the passes before anyone else does. 

"He has fantastic technique, delivery from set plays, he’s got the intelligence to know where to be on the pitch, playing one touch or two touch.

"I think if he’d broken on to the scene more like five or six years ago he’d be a regular in the England squad, and it’s more about the embarrassment of riches that England have in that position now, with the likes of Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Phil Foden, and even Conor Gallagher this season as well."

Qatar 2022

James Maddison often cuts in from the left on to his stronger foot
James Maddison often cuts in from the left on to his stronger foot

Maddison earned his first — and only — England cap after coming off the bench in a 7-0 win over Montenegro in 2019.

Despite consistently being one of the Premier League's top attacking midfielders, he has not managed to force his way into a talented group since.

Calls remain for Gareth Southgate to bring the Leicester talisman to the World Cup in Qatar this winter and the man himself insists he is doing everything he can to get noticed.

He said: "It’s just about showing more consistency and affecting games more. My numbers have always been good, it’s just about finding the consistency.

"I’m feeling really good, really confident, and I’m going into games with that confidence. 

"As an English player, the World Cup is the pinnacle. I always think what I can do better to get into the squad. All I can do is keep playing the way I’m playing and keep knocking on the door."

The World Cup will be Maddison's main priority this year and could play a deciding role in discussions over his future.

One thing is clear, wherever he is next season, the Coventry-born ace needs all the minutes he can get to state his case for a spot on the plane.


Leicester CityJames MaddisonPremier LeagueArsenalEuropa Conference League 1
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