Arsenal transfer news: 'Mikel Arteta is a huge fan' of £49.5m-rated Chelsea target

James Maddison celebrating winning the FA Cup amid speculation over a move to Arsenal

According to journalist Chris Wheatley, James Maddison is a target for Arsenal with Mikel Arteta a big fan of the Leicester City midfielder.

What’s the latest transfer news involving James Maddison?

Wheatley claims that Arsenal are targeting Leicester attacking midfielder Maddison this summer, and he revealed that Gunners manager Arteta is a huge fan of his.

The journalist suggests that despite confirmation that the England international is of interest to Arsenal, the fee that Leicester could demand will be an issue. Transfermarkt currently rate him at £49.5m but the Foxes’ actual valuation remains unclear.

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Who else is interested in Maddison?

According to Wheatley, Arsenal could face some competition if they pursue a deal for Maddison from Chelsea, but only if the Blues were to sell Hakim Ziyech this summer.

Italian outlet Calciomercato claim that Chelsea are willing to let the Morocco international leave the club in this transfer window and will now listen to incoming offers for Ziyech. The report suggests that AC Milan are lining up a bid for him. 

Ziyech has struggled for minutes under new boss Thomas Tuchel and a move away from Stamford Bridge could be the best option for both parties, especially considering it could initiate a Chelsea swoop for Maddison. 

Chris Wheatley says Arsenal are targeting Leicester City midfielder James Maddison

How did Maddison perform in the 20/21 Premier League season?

According to Transfermarkt, Maddison netted eight Premier League goals last term, with a further seven assists to his name in England’s top flight.

Aside from the maestro’s league tally, he also won the first major trophy of his career with Leicester as they lifted the FA Cup trophy for the first time after beating Chelsea 1-0 in the final.

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Despite impressive numbers on the field, the 24-year-old’s injury record might be a worry for potential suitors. According to Transfermarkt, the attacking midfielder was absent for 95 days with knocks in the 2020/21 campaign, equating to nine games unavailable.

Would Maddison strengthen Arsenal’s side? 

Undoubtedly, yes.

The Gunners are unquestionably in desperate need of more depth in the attacking midfield position. Despite reports from Fabrizio Romano suggesting Arsenal are looking to extend the contract of Emile Smith-Rowe, they are set to lose a further two midfield options this window.

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Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard are returning to Real Madrid upon the expiry of their loan deals at the Emirates which will leave a void in the middle of the park.

If the club were to pursue Maddison he could act as a replacement for the pair and potentially even emerge as Arsenal’s long-term successor to former creator-in-chief Mesut Ozil.

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