The Gunners remain in the market for another creative playmaker, but luring an England international away from the Foxes could be costly
Arsenal continue to be linked with Leicester midfielder James Maddison, but any deal there will not come cheap as Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers considers a star turn in his squad to be “the same” as Jack Grealish – who has just joined Manchester City for £100 million ($139m).
Some big numbers have already been discussed when it comes to Maddison’s future, with there plenty of speculation to be found regarding an imminent move away from the East Midlands for a highly-rated 24-year-old.
Leicester, though, are reluctant sellers and have suggested that they would demand a figure close to the British record free that took Grealish from Aston Villa to the Etihad Stadium if they were to part with another England international playmaker.
What has been said?
Rodgers is aware of the speculation surrounding one of his most prized assets, but has told reporters of a player he places in the Grealish talent bracket: “I think they are both close. They are both very talented players.
“Stylistically, I think they’re the same. They are both creators. But I would say they are both totally different. One is a dribbler – one commits people down the sides.
“James is more central and he’s more of a passer. So yes, they are both creative players but stylistically they are both very different.
“Everyone could see today how hard James works for the team, his quality and how he takes the ball. His eye for the last pass.
“He is a wonderful talent and I thought he was excellent tactically because they really challenge you in that respect. I thought he was brilliant.”
Rodgers added: “James was unfortunate in that he suffered from a number of injuries which curtailed his progress last season.
“This will be a big year for him, trying to maintain that fitness – you need a little bit of luck with that as well.
“All he can do is play to the highest possible level for Leicester and see where it takes him.”
Why do Arsenal want Maddison?
The Gunners have been in the market for another creative influence for some time.
After freezing out Mesut Ozil and eventually offloading him to Fenerbahce, Martin Odegaard was drafted in on loan from Real Madrid.
The Norway international may yet become available again, as no decision has been made on his long-term future at Santiago Bernabeu, but alternative options are being considered.
Maddison forms part of that group, alongside Wolves star Ruben Neves, with the Leicester man proving himself on a Premier League stage.
Through 119 appearances for the Foxes, Maddison has recorded 27 goals and 20 assists – helping Rodgers’ side to FA Cup and Community Shield glory, while also becoming serious challengers for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Arsenal would welcome an opportunity to buy into that ability, but they will have to dig deep if a successful raid on domestic rivals is to be completed before the next transfer deadline on August 31.