‘The rumour is true’ – Arsenal told to stump up £80 million for 24-year-old playmaker

Leicester City have reportedly placed a hefty £80 million price tag on James Maddison as interest mounts from Premier League clubs, including Arsenal.

According to Leicester Mercury, James Maddison is valued at £80 million by Leicester City. The FA Cup holders want interested clubs to know the playmaker will not leave the club on the cheap and will only entertain offers that come close to their valuation, with Arsenal and others looking at the 24-year-old English international.

Arsenal have been looking for a playmaker, specifically in the No.10 role this summer. Martin Odegaard was their preferred choice in that position, having played for Arsenal on loan in the second half of 2020/21. The Norwegian is now expected to stay put at Real Madrid with new manager Carlo Ancelotti interested in keeping him.

That left Arsenal searching for alternatives and they have already lost out to Aston Villa in their chase for Emiliano Buendia. The Gunners have a list of players suited for that position, and Leicester’s James Maddison features on top. The English playmaker will not come cheap, as Leicester seek top value for their asset.

Despite recent reports suggesting a price around the £60 million mark could do the trick for Arsenal, Leicester Mercury’s publication indicates a valuation of around £80 million. This price tag is similar to what Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire, and it is understood Maddison is in that same bracket.

Leicester are reportedly open to selling Maddison, although it will depend on if the 24-year-old himself requests to leave. £80 million is a very high price considering the financial conditions clubs are dealing with owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Even for big clubs, this is a very high price at the moment, putting Arsenal in a spot of bother.

If Arsenal’s reported interest is serious, the Gunners might sit at the table with Leicester to bring the price down a bit. Alternatively, the Gunners could look to offer a player in part exchange for Maddison. That player could well be Joe Willock, who is drawing widespread interest following his successful loan spell at Newcastle.

Leicester could be interested in a deal that would see them land Willock as well as a chunk of cash from Arsenal. The young English midfielder is considered to be in the same mould as Maddison, and in general, he could be tempted by Leicester if Arsenal decide to let him go.

Arsenal value Willock between £20 million and £30 million and do not precisely consider him in their plans for next season. They could well keep him, but if an offer based on their value arrives, the North London side will not hesitate to do business.

As for Leicester, they are within their rights to extract top value for their star player. However, they could well do a clever piece of business by including Willock as part of the deal. Will Maddison be a good fit at Arsenal, and should the Gunners stump up such a high price for him in the summer? It all remains to be seen.

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