James Maddison transfer could spell the end for 4 Hale Enders as Arsenal seek to fund £70m deal

The transfer window is barely a week old but it’s already been a busy one for Arsenal.

football.london understands that the Gunners are looking for recruits in five different positions, although central attacking midfield seems to be the area they are focusing on right now.

Edu has already seen an attempt to sign Emi Buendia fail, with the Argentinian opting to join Aston Villa instead, while luring Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid permanently is reportedly proving more difficult than first though. It now seems the club’s attentions are turning to Leicester City’s James Maddison.

While football.london understands that Mikel Arteta is an admirer of the England international the Foxes reportedly rejected a bid of around £70m for him from a Premier League club last summer as they feel he is worth more. With Arsenal’s restricted budget this summer the question now has to be how exactly would they able to afford such a transfer?

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Arguably as important as getting player recruitment right this summer for the Gunners is making sure they sell well.

With the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and no European football for the first time in a quarter of a century, money is tight around the Emirates so generating funds through player sales will be crucial to fund the “ruthless” squad overhaul Arteta has promised.

In so many ways Hale End has been Arsenal’s saviour across the past twelve months, with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe proving to be two of the few things fans have had to cheer.

As much as fans would like to see a team full of academy graduates there is an acceptance that not every youngster can follow in the footsteps of the aforementioned pair though.

For a young player to make it at senior level for a club like the Gunners a clear pathway is required into the first team.

Maddison’s arrival would present a direct affront to that pathway for Joe Willock.

The 21-year-old has had a fine half-season on loan with Newcastle where he became the youngest player in Premier League history to score in seven consecutive matches, leading Arteta to declare publicly that he is in his plans for years to come.

The Spaniard has also publicly stated that his long-term ambition is transition Arsenal into a side that plays 4-3-3, and the sale of Granit Xhaka combined with links to players such as Ruben Neves and Albert Sombi Lokonga would seem to suggest that evolution may be happening sooner rather than later.

Joe Willock was superb whilst on loan at Newcastle United. (Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images).
Joe Willock was superb whilst on loan at Newcastle United. (Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images).

Willock would seem to be the perfect player to fill the more attacking role in this central midfield role but the arrival of a huge money signing like Maddison would surely put paid to that.

Despite Arteta’s public comments the likelihood is that if Newcastle were to come in with a bid of around £30m for the England under-21 international this summer the Gunners would surely be inclined to take it.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is another who could leave this summer as Arsenal seek to fund moves for some expensive transfers this summer.

football.london understands that Crystal Palace have made enquiries about the England international who has stated that he is open to a move away from the Emirates after not being given a chance to play in his preferred central midfield position.

Eddie Nketiah may also be on his way this summer if he does not sign the reported contract extension that he has been offered.

The 22-year-old is now behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Folarin Balogun who himself recently signed a contract extension of his own.

While Arsenal’s contract situation could look very different come September there is an acceptance the Nketiah could be sold in order to fund moves for a player like Maddison if he is unwilling to commit his future to the club.

Finally Reiss Nelson is another who could be on his way out of the club permanently if the right offer comes in for him.

The 21-year-old has two years on his contract and the Gunners would like to get him a loan if possible to help improve his experience at senior level.

Despite that though, football.london understands that Olympiacos are among the clubs interested in him and if the Greek champions submit an offer that is deemed appropriate Nelson may leave.

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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It’s unclear if Arsenal would be able to raise enough from these four sales to be able to afford Maddison.

In the sales of Riyad Mahrez and Harry Maguire in the past Leicester have shown themselves to be shrewd operators in the transfer market and there is little to suggest that they would be willing to accept a penny less than their valuation of the 24-year-old.

If the Gunners are to seal a move for the England international though player sales are going to be vital in helping them along the way.

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