Arsenal

Why Arsenal didn’t sign James Maddison as Leicester City midfielder makes honest admission

Arsenal were interested in James Maddison during the summer transfer window.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta is an admirer of Maddison, with Martin Odegaard’s Real Madrid future looking uncertain at the time following his loan spell at the Emirates Stadium.

A source close to Maddison told us that the 24-year-old was ‘at the top of the list’ for Arsenal in the summer transfer window.

The major sticking point for Arsenal, however, was Leicester’s demands of over £60million for the former Norwich and Coventry midfielder.

But what exactly happened? Who was involved? And why didn’t the move come to fruition?

What has Maddison said?

Maddison hasn’t spoken directly about the proposed move, but recently admitted via the Mirror that he has struggled with a lack of form on the pitch.

“It has probably been the hardest time of my career. People on the outside don’t know my life and I am my own biggest critic,” he said.

“If I have had a bad game, I watch it back straight away. I am very critical of myself.

“Goals and assists are a part of it, but it is about playing as well, to the level I know I can. I had a good chat with the manager and I told him I was a little bit low on confidence.

“That is the first time I have been able to hold my hands up and say that because it puts you in a bit of a vulnerable position, but that was me being honest.

“We looked at my best clips and what makes me a good player. In recent games, I have felt more like myself, like I had my swagger back. Sometimes you can overthink things.”

What happened with the deal?

The Gunners did not make a direct formal offer to Leicester City, instead sounding out the possibility of signing Maddison by offering different players in the deal via intermediaries to make the transfer fee more viable.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Eddie Nketiah were among the players offered as potential makeweights, but any swap deal involving those players was quickly dismissed as unacceptable.

Why did it not happen?

Quite simply, Arsenal were not willing to pay in excess of £60million for Maddison.

His fee was always going to prove a stumbling block and when Martin Odegaard became available for half the price in the closing weeks of the transfer window, the decision was made to close the deal for the Norway international instead.