James Maddison to Arsenal: Roy Keane warns midfielder not to leave Leicester

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Leicester playmaker James Maddison has been repeatedly linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta reportedly keen to improve his side’s creativity from midfield for the upcoming campaign.

Indications are that Maddison would welcome a switch to the Emirates, but the ex-Coventry man has been warned to think very carefully about departing the East Midlands.

Maddison played 71 minutes as Leicester claimed a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in Saturday’s Community Shield match at Wembley. Kelechi Iheanacho secured the upset win for the Foxes with a late penalty, awarded after Nathan Ake bought down Patson Daka in the box.

Speaking while covering the game as a pundit for ITV sport, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane had some stern words for Maddison regarding his potential move.

“Arsenal are a huge club. But, at this time, I don’t think it’s a step up for him to leave Leicester to go to Arsenal,” declared the Irishman.

When asked whether a switch by the 24-year-old from the King Power Stadium to the Gunners would be a sideways move, he replied: “It’s probably backwards”.

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Keane went on to explain that he believes Leicester are simply better equipped to vie for both domestic honours and European qualification at present.

“At this moment in time, Leicester are trying to challenge for [qualification to] the Champions League. They won a trophy last year. Arsenal are short here,” said the 49-year-old of Arteta’s men – who will not play in Europe for the first time in 26 years this season. 

The input of Keane will not have been welcomed by Arsenal chief executive Edu, who is acutely aware that the club need to bring in attacking reinforcements in midfield, having struggled to create in the final third during the last campaign.

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Leicester, for their part, absolutely do not want to lose one of their prized assets – and are believed to have slapped a £60m valuation on Maddison in an effort to convince Arsenal to seek out alternative targets.

Whether Maddison can be tempted into joining the rebuilding project at the Emirates remains to be seen. However, if he wants to add to his sole England cap and place himself in contention for a spot in Gareth Southgate’s squad at next year’s World Cup, then he might be best served to heed Keane’s advice and remain a Leicester player.

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