Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has made it one of his several missions this summer to add a new central attacking-midfielder to his ranks.
The Gunners boss, who saw his side finish eighth in the Premier League table last term, is desperate to add fresh blood to his squad this summer in a bid to transform the club’s fortunes and restore some much-needed pride.
Arteta is understood to want to add at least five new players to his first-team squad during this window, with an attacking-midfielder among his top priorities.
The Spaniard’s preferred option is to re-sign Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard, but it is believed that he is set to remain in the Spanish capital next season and fight for his place.
As an alternative, the Gunners could turn to Leicester City ace James Maddison. The Foxes star is understood to be on the Gunners’ radar and Arteta is a big fan of him.
With that said, here is a round-up of all the very latest on Maddison’s future and the Gunners’ interest in his signature.
Maddison on Arteta’s radar
football.london understands that the Leicester star is indeed on Arteta’s wish list.
The Spaniard is a big fan of Maddison and would be open to the idea of adding him to his squad if he could get a deal over the line.
However, a lot of work would be required as his value is certainly a lot higher than what the club could currently afford without cutting their cloth beforehand.
Maddison opens up on his favourite position
Despite being renowned as a modern-day No.10 that tends to play behind the striker(s), Maddison does, in fact, see himself more as a No.8.
“Number eight definitely,” Maddison once said of his favoured position to LeicestershireLive. “I played as a No.10 at the start of last season, and then when the gaffer [Brendan Rodgers] came in, I transitioned into a number eight, and sometimes I play off the left.
“I don’t want to be labelled as a number 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.
“Being a number eight has made me add that defensive side to my game. I’m never going to be a big tackler, I’m never going to go around smashing people.
“It’s that awareness and that responsibility of getting little toes in, little interceptions, because as a number eight you find yourself deeper a lot, so I’ve had to add that.”
With that said, making a move for Maddison could require extra thought from Arteta as to where he sees him fitting in his system, but it is likely that he would be required to operate as an advanced playmaker in north London.
Gunners hopeful of concluding deal
According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners have ‘genuine hope’ of getting a deal over the line for Maddison this summer.
The Foxes turned down a bid of £70million last summer for the former Norwich City man, meaning they are unlikely to entertain anything less to let go of him this time around.
But considering Arsenal already find themselves in a position where they need to sell before they can buy, it does raise questions about whether or not they can raise enough funds through sales to land Maddison and other targets.
However, it is claimed that Arsenal have a real chance of getting a deal over the line if they put forward the ‘right offer.’
Compared to Coutinho
Leicester chief Brendan Rodgers has previously likened Maddison to Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho, who has, of course, been heavily linked with Arsenal himself in the past.
The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
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Back in November last year, Rodgers said: “James is a bit like Philippe Coutinho — they’re players who are recognised for their talent.
“But then to maximise that talent, in order for them to participate in the game at the highest level, they also have to be able to contribute to a press.
“Of course, James has his strengths, so you let him flourish with those strengths. But then we helped him with the tactical discipline. And he’s becoming very, very good at it.”