Arsenal fans hoping that Leicester leaving James Maddison out of their side to face Queens Park Rangers might be a positive sign have been left disappointed.
The Gunners have been linked with a move for the Foxes midfielder all summer. Mikel Arteta is looking to reshape his squad to bounce back from last season’s woes. The north Londoners finished eighth and will be without European football in 2021-2022.
That has not prevented them from attracting the likes of defender Ben White from Brighton. Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares are also on board, with the Emirates outfit linked to many more players.
Maddison first appeared on the radar in June. Chelsea and Manchester City were also mentioned in connection with the former Norwich City man.
But it is Arsenal’s pursuit that has garnered the most column inches over the past few weeks. The rumour mill went into overdrive on Saturday as the talented playmaker was omitted from the squad to play Rangers.
Fans took to social media to suggest a move to Arsenal might be behind Brendan Rodgers’ decision. But the Northern Irish tactician was quick to put things straight after the 3-3 draw in west London.
“James was going to play but his partner Kennedy went into labour,” he said. “Family is more important than football. I haven’t heard any news yet but hopefully he’ll become a father today, if he’s not already.”
No pressure to sell Maddison
Although rumours over Maddison’s future have been doing the rounds, the Foxes have remained silent. There have been several unconfirmed reports that the East Midlanders are willing to listen to offers for the schemer.
But, with another Europa League campaign on the horizon, they need as much talent in the ranks as possible. Valued at around £70m, the former Coventry forward certainly falls into that category.
He scored eight goals from 31 top-flight appearances last term. However, the man with one England cap is not without his critics.
His form appeared to dip at times last season but he remains a talented player with his best years to come. It remains to be seen if Arteta continues his pursuit of Maddison.
Former Gunners striker Kevin Campbell has questioned whether the ex-Aberdeen loan star is the answer to Arsenal’s problems.
“I don’t think he’s a game-changer for Arsenal,” he told the Highbury Squad Podcast. “I think he’s a good complimentary player when things are going well.
“But when things aren’t going well, then I don’t think he can grab the game by the scruff of the neck and be a difference-maker.”
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