Arsenal’s Maddison mission: Gunners ramp up the hunt for Leicester’s playmaker and are willing to offer Reiss Nelson or Ainsley Maitland-Niles to soften the deal, with Foxes wanting more than £50m
- Arsenal open to offering players to Leicester as they chase James Maddison
- Maddison is a prime target for Mikel Arteta in his bid to add creativity to midfield
- £50m is believed not to be enough, but fringe stars could sweeten the deal
- Reiss Nelson could go the other way – and Ainsley Maitland-Niles is available
Arsenal are ready to offer Leicester a number of players as they explore the possibility of signing James Maddison this summer.
As revealed by Sports post Maddison has been a prime target for Gunners boss Mikel Arteta last month as he looks to add creativity to his midfield after Martin Odegaard returned to Real Madrid at the end of his loan spell.
It is believed £50million at this stage would not be enough to bring Leicester to the table, but Arsenal would allow an edge player, such as winger Reiss Nelson, to move in the opposite direction to soften the deal.
Arsenal ready to offer stars to Leicester if they increase interest in James Maddison
While talks would be very difficult, Arsenal believe Leicester is willing to negotiate.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who Leicester looked at last January, is another player available for transfer.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to add a wide striker ahead of next season’s start.
Nelson, 21, has only one year left at the Emirates Stadium and has only played 22 games under Arteta, the last being in January.
Reiss Nelson (L) is one of the players who could move to Leicester to soften the deal
Leicester rejected a £70million offer for Maddison from another Premier League club last summer and the 24-year-old subsequently signed a new four-year deal worth £100,000 a week. That puts them in an extremely strong negotiating position.
Arsenal have brought in £18 million Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht and would like to further strengthen their midfield after his arrival.
Renato Sanches of Lille is another target when Maddison turns out to be out of range.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also available for transfer and was targeted by Leicester last season
Arsenal have a strong relationship with the French champions, who have attracted Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille over the past two summer spells, and are open for sale due to the money crisis in French football.
Maddison has been central to Rodgers’ plans since the Foxes boss left Celtic for King Power Stadium in February 2019, although he struggled to regain his place in the team when he recovered from the hip problem and was dropped from the start last season. XI for the FA Cup final against Chelsea in May.
Maddison came into play in the second half to help Leicester take the trophy for the first time in their history, but it is thought he was hugely disappointed to be initially on the bench.
Maddison is a prime target for Arteta (above) as he tries to inject creativity into his side
After Maddison was dropped from England’s long list for Euro 2020, Rodgers said: “The only thing you can control as a footballer is your fitness.
“There are things in the game that you have no control over as 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 return. He will be able to reach the required fitness level, and when he does, you’ve seen the level at which he can play his game.”