Arsenal have been linked with James Maddison for the entirety of the window, but two other players have been suggested and prioritised over the Leicester midfielder
James Maddison has been linked with a move to Arsenal all summer, with Mikel Arteta seemingly desperate to bring in a creative midfielder.
Leicester are under no pressure to sell their highly rated 24-year-old, who is immensely valued at the club and is under contract at the King Power until 2024.
Arsenal’s season got off to the worst possible start on Friday night as they were defeated 2-0 by Premier League new-boys Brentford, highlighting their need to bolster the squad.
But, former Arsenal defender Martin Keown thinks that Arteta should be focusing on signing a solid player who can provide some stability, rather than focusing on bringing in an attacking minded player.
Keown believes that Arsenal should try and sign one of Maddison’s Leicester teammates in the form of Wilfred Ndidi or Youri Tielemans, rather than splash upwards of £60million for the Leicester no.10.
The former Arsenal man told Stadium Astro : “The missing ingredient for Arsenal tonight was steel so I’m not sure Maddison is the player we should be going for.”
Keown didn’t suggest that Arsenal shouldn’t go for Maddison, but explained that they should prioritise in other areas first: “If I am going to Leicester, I’m going for Tielemans or Ndidi, I’m not going for Maddison because Arsenal need that type of player first.
“You have to build that structure to the team. They have (Emile) Smith Rowe, they have that creativity.”
Albert Sambi Lokonga made his debut in the heart of Arsenal’s midfield during the defeat to Brentford, and this was the area of concern for Keown: “I think the base of that team, we had a young debutant (Lokonga) playing there tonight.
“That’s an area where Arsenal should be buying an international player. You have to be able to dictate games in that midfield and at the moment, it is an area that really concerns me.”
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It seems unlikely that the Gunners will sign Maddison this summer due to the substantial fee that Leicester would require, but they are turning their attention to another creative midfielder.
Former loan signing Martin Odegaard is wanted back at the Emirates, and Arsenal are reportedly in talks with Real Madrid to re-sign the 22-year-old on a permanent deal.
Odegaard would be considerably cheaper than Maddison, as the Norwegian could be signed for a fee of around £35m-£40m, but this won’t solve Keown’s concerns.
The base of Arsenal’s midfield is usually made up by Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey, but Lokonga featured alongside Xhaka for the opening game due to an injury sustained by Partey in pre-season.
The Ghanaian is unlikely to return for the Gunners until after the first international break, meaning that new signing Lokonga has a lot of responsibility on his hands.
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