The Gunners have identified Maddison as their main creative midfield target but have yet to reach Leicester’s valuation of the 24-year-old
Arsenal are still someway apart from Leicester’s valuation of James Maddison with the club determined to bring in a back-up goalkeeper and creative midfielder before the transfer window closes, football.london understands.
football.london revealed last month that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is an admirer of Maddison and will target him this summer, with a source close to Maddison confirming that the 24-year-old is ‘at the top of the list’ for Arsenal in the summer transfer window.
football.london has been told that negotiations are ‘very slow’ and ‘like a game of chess’ but Maddison remains keen on a move to north London.
The major sticking point for Arsenal however, is Leicester’s demands of over £60million for the former Norwich and Coventry midfielder.
And it’s understood that technical director Edu is exploring cheaper options in the market in the event that a deal cannot be completed before the August 31 deadline.
The Gunners sounded out the possibility of signing Maddison by offering different players in the deal via an intermediary to make the transfer fee more viable.
It’s hoped that Joe Willock’s imminent move to Newcastle for a fee in the region of £25million will provide a domino effect with the other potential Arsenal outgoings this summer.
Willock was offered as a makeweight in a proposal for Maddison which is why Arsenal took longer than expected to respond to Newcastle’s offer for the 21-year-old.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah are among the players available for transfer this summer, with all of them mentioned as makeweights in a deal for Maddison – which Leicester are not interested keen on.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has maintained that Maddison is happy at the KingPower Stadium but refused to rule out a possible exit this summer.
“I know he is very happy here and he wants to be here,” Rodgers said.
“If anything comes to the club, Jon Rudkin (director of football) would tell me straightaway and I would deal with it then, but there has been nothing that’s come my way.
“I’ve not been told anything to say [he won’t stay]. He is happy in training and he is working hard, and he is a talented, important member of the squad.
“He had his season disrupted by injury last year but hopefully this season he can show what a real top player he is.”
football.london has learned that Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard is being lined up as a replacement for Maddison in the event that he leaves the club.
Meanwhile, Martin Odegaard is still an option for Arsenal if they fail to get Maddison this summer, with Real Madrid open to letting the Norway captain leave for the right price.
Odegaard spent the second half of last season on loan at Emirates Stadium and would be a considerably cheaper option than Maddison if Arteta fails to land his no.1 target.
The Gunners also want to sign a right back if Hector Bellerin leaves and are focussed on bringing in a back-up goalkeeper for Bernd Leno, with Sheffield United shot stopper Aaron Ramsdale the main target.