Lineker warns Maddison against 'backwards' Arsenal move

Martin Macdonald
James Maddison: Should Manchester United target him again?

Former Leicester City forward Gary Lineker has warned James Maddison that a move to Arsenal would represent a backwards step in his career.

The Gunners are looking for a new attacking midfielder having failed to sign Martin Odegaard on a permanent basis from Real Madrid, with new head coach Carlo Ancelotti keen to give the Norwegian a chance in the Spanish capital.

Having already failed to sign Emiliano Buendia from Norwich, too, Arsenal have moved on to other targets, namely Maddison.

Mailsport reports that Maddison could be targeted, with the club believing his status as a homegrown player will come as a bonus.

Though Maddison had his injury problems last season as he started just 24/28 league games, he still contributed 11 goals and nine assists in all competitions in 2020/21.

Around February he would suffer from a hip injury which all but ended his contention for a place in the England squad for Euro 2020.

He still retains an outstanding reputation, however, and Arsenal believe a deal can be struck despite Leicester's tendency to get big bucks for their players in recent years.

In the Premier League last season, Leicester finished fifth while Arsenal finished in eighth, which is why Lineker things it would be a strange move for Maddison.

Responding to a news story linking Maddison with Arsenal, Lineker tweeted:

"From my experience, taking a backward step never ends well. @Madders10."

Why the deal won't happen

According to reports, Leicester rejected an offer of around £70 million from an unnamed Premier League side last summer for Maddison.

Therefore, they would be looking for nearer to the fee that Manchester United paid for Harry Maguire if they are to even consider letting Maddison leave.

That would mean Arsenal breaking their transfer record to land the Englishman, having previously paid Lille £72m for Nicolas Pepe - who hasn't impressed despite the exorbitant outlay.

Following that failed bid from the unnamed club, Maddison would subsequently sign a new contract with Leicester worth around £100k per week until the summer of 2024.

The length of his current deal puts the Foxes in an extremely strong position when it comes to negotiations.

There are also no guarantees that Maddison would be keen to move to Arsenal who finished eighth in the Premier League season when Leicester are enjoying a burgeoning reputation under Brendan Rodgers, who came close again last campagn to returning the club to the Champions League.