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Arsenal to prioritise transfer for Premier League playmaker this summer — Reports

Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Sai Teja
FEATURED WRITER

Arsenal are set to prioritise a move for Leicester City superstar James Maddison in the summer window, as per reports in England.

Maddison has been one of the Foxes' key members since Brendan Rodgers arrived at the King Power Stadium back in 2019. Purchased from Championship side Norwich City for just over £20m, the Englishman has grown in stature at Leicester City and has become one of the most revered playmakers in the country.

While Arsenal are believed to have targeted a permanent move for Martin Odegaard, the Norwegian has returned to his parent club Real Madrid. This has led to the Gunners turning their attention to the English playmaker.

However, Arsenal could be forced to break the bank to complete a potential deal for Maddison as Leicester are under no pressure to sell him. Rodgers' side reportedly rejected a mammoth £70m bid for him last year. Additionally, the 24-year-old penned a new four-year deal in 2020, giving the Foxes a considerable bargaining chip in this situation.

It is also pertinent to note that the 2015/16 Premier League champions have proven to be notoriously tricky negotiators in the past.

Manchester United learned this the hard way, as their efforts to bring down Leicester's £80m valuation of Harry Maguire were in vain. Despite lengthy negotiations, the Foxes refused to budge on their price and forced the Red Devils to make Maguire the most expensive defender in football in 2019.

Leicester City v West Ham United - Premier League
Leicester City v West Ham United - Premier League

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were also believed to be interested in signing Maddison but were priced out of the move. They moved on to sign Bruno Fernandes six months later.

With this in mind, Arsenal have a huge task ahead of them if they are to force Leicester to part ways with their star playmaker. However, the report also claims that Mikel Arteta's men believe they could strike a deal with Leicester if they make the 'right offer'.

Overall, Maddison has played a part in 31 Premier League games this season and chipped in with eight goals and five assists in this period. He also helped them lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history.


A busy transfer window ahead for Arsenal

England v Romania - International Friendly
England v Romania - International Friendly

Apart from the evident lack of creative players at his disposal, Mikel Arteta is keen to strengthen other areas of his squad as well.

Sky Sports reported on Wednesday that the Gunners saw a £40m bid turned down for Brighton & Hove Albion's Ben White as they look to bolster their defence.

Arsenal have been strongly linked with numerous centre-halves, with the pick of the bunch being Sevilla's crown jewel, Jules Kounde. However, a lack of UEFA Champions League football has seemingly deterred their pursuit of the Frenchman.

Elsewhere, they are also keen to wrap up a deal for promising Anderlecht wonderkid Albert Sambi Lokonga. The Gunners reportedly saw a £13.5m bid turned down, but they could be back with an improved offer. Arsenal are also believed to be working on extending Emile Smith Rowe's contract.


Also Read: Jim Beglin's column - 5 Players who could impress in unfamiliar positions

Edited by Sai Teja
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