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Arsenal believe rivals could crack with offer of double bait for £50m-plus star

Arsenal are considering offering one of two stars as they step up the transfer chase for Leicester midfielder James Maddison, a report claims.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has made adding to his midfield a key summer priority. While Thomas Partey arrived last October, Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard have both now left. Furthermore, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka still has links with Roma, but his Euro 2020 performances have complicated matters.

In response, Arsenal have brought in exciting 21-year-old Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht. He can operate in a deep-lying role and also as a box-to-box midfielder.

According to the Daily Mail, though, Arteta wants more creativity in his engine room. Amid continued links with Lyon’s Houssem Aouar, though, Maddison is also a target.

The newspaper points out that Leicester rejected a £70million offer from a Premier League club for him last summer. They responded by tying him to a new four-year, £100,000 per week deal.

As such, a £50million offer from Arsenal would not suffice and negotiations will prove ‘very difficult’.

However, the report adds that the Gunners feel Leicester will crack if they include a player in an offer.

Versatile star Ainsley Maitland-Niles is the first they could offer. The England international spent last season on loan at West Brom and insisted in June that he wants clarity over his future.

He has yet to receive that, though, and the Foxes considered a loan move for him in January.

Reiss Nelson could prove a more tempting addition for Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers, who wants a new wide forward after Roma loanee Cengiz Under’s exit.

For now, though, Arsenal’s interest remains in its infancy.

Club chief explains Lokonga admiration

Following Lokonga’s move to the Emirates Stadium, Anderlecht’s sporting director has backed the player to impress.

Peter Verbeke has outlined the player’s best qualities and how he will fit in under Arteta.

He also insisted that Lokonga will have no problems adapting to the English top flight.

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