Former Leicester City striker Gary Lineker has taken a light-hearted jibe at Arsenal following a report tentatively linking the club to Foxes star James Maddison
The Foxes fan linked to a tweet linking the midfielder with a switch to North London, where he is said to be the number one transfer priority.
The 24-year-old has grown into one of the most important players at the Midlands club since his 2018 switch from Norwich City and is one of the most creative players in the Premier League.
The report suggested that the Gunners would make a move for Maddison this summer and were even prepared to double the salary that he currently earns at Leicester.
Lineker is a boyhood Foxes fan from the city of Leicester and he scored over 100 goals for the club across the first seven years of his professional career.
He has spoken frequently about his pride at the club in the years since and revelled in their FA Cup success earlier this year, alongside their remarkable Premier League title five years ago.
The 60-year-old presenter has now publicly commented on the report linking Maddison with a move to Arsenal, claiming that it would be ‘taking a backward step’ in the midfielder’s career.
Lineker took to social media to write: “From my experience, taking a backward step never ends well. @Madders10”
Alongside winning this year’s FA Cup – dethroning Mikel Arteta’s side of the title – the Foxes finished three positions and five points above Arsenal in the Premier League standings.
It was a campaign that saw the Gunners miss out on qualification for European football for the first time in 25 years, while they also ended the season trophyless – eliminated from the Europa League semi-finals by former boss Unai Emery at Villarreal.
There has been a notable power shift between the two teams in recent years, with Leicester also finishing three places and six points above Arteta’s team in 2019-20.
Lineker’s light-hearted jibe towards the North London club can be seen through this context, with Leicester now established as one of the top six performing teams in England on the pitch – if not in profit.
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Brendan Rodgers has already strengthened his squad this summer with the arrivals of midfielder Boubakary Soumare from Lille and RB Leipzig striker Patson Daka.
Maddison began his career at Coventry City but it was his performance throughout the 2017-18 campaign for Norwich that truly elevated him to prominence.
He netted 15 goals for the Canaries in the Championship that season to earn a move to the Foxes, where he has subsequently developed into one of their star players.
Maddison received his first cap for England when he came on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 56th minute of a 7–0 win over Montenegro in the qualification stages for Euro 2020.