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Pundit questions whether £60m target is ‘difference-maker’ Arsenal need

Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell believes the Gunners may be keen on Leicester City’s James Maddison but feels he is not the answer to their problems.

Manager Mikel Arteta is desperately trying to re-shape his squad to right the wrongs of last season. Closer to the foot of the table than the top for a while, the north Londoners ended up in eighth spot. It means there will be no European football for the returning Emirates faithful in 2021-2022.

The Spanish tactician has already recruited Albert Sambi Lokonga and Nuno Tavares but has his eyes on further signings. Links to Maddison have been doing the rounds for some time.

He is said to be valued at around the £60m mark. And it was suggested that Ainsley Maitland-Niles might be offered as a makeweight in any proposed deal for the schemer.

There has been no confirmation of that angle or whether Arsenal will move for the Foxes ace.

Campbell spent seven years at Arsenal, scoring 46 top-flight goals. He is still a keen observer of the club’s activities.

The 51-year-old can see why his former employers would move for the 24-year-old. But he is unsure whether the man with one England cap can fill the role Arteta needs.

“There are some rumours coming out about Maddison and I think there is some strength in it,” he told the Highbury Squad Podcast. “I like him as a player. I think he’s a good player.

“But I don’t think he’s a game-changer for Arsenal. I really don’t. 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.”

Maddison may be a big-money risk

With finances tighter than usual due to the pandemic, clubs cannot afford to risk huge fees on players. They want proven superstars for the numbers being quoted for the former Norwich City star.

There is no doubting Maddison’s quality but Campbell has questioned whether it would be cash well spent.

“You are talking £60-70 million, which is a lot of money,” he added. “For what we need, we need him to be a difference-maker. We really do.”

Arsenal are looking for creative players who can have an influence in the final third. Mesut Ozil used to fill that role but is now long gone.

Maddison seems an upgrade on what Arteta has at his disposal. But the capital outfit do not have a bottomless pit and it may be a non-starter.

READ MORE: Midfielder exit hits the buffers as Arsenal play hardball over fee



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