Newcastle United: James Maddison is a key summer target
Newcastle United have made Leicester City midfielder James Maddison a key summer target, according to Scott Wilson for The Northern Echo.
The Lowdown: Long-term admirers
The Telegraph report that the Magpies made a £40m bid for the 26-year-old in last summer’s transfer window, with Eddie Howe identifying the midfielder as one of his main targets, although their offer was rebuffed by Leicester.
A bid totalling £50m was also rejected by the Foxes, who valued one of their most prized assets at £60m. However, given that his contract will have only one year remaining at the end of the season, a transfer could be plausible in the summer.
The Latest: Renewed attempt?
According to Wilson for The Northern Echo, Newcastle will make a renewed attempt to sign the £110,000-per-week Maddison when the transfer window reopens in the summer, with Howe set to prioritise signing a new midfielder.
The 26-year-old is said to be a key target for the Tynesiders, although they are set to face intense competition from Manchester City for his signature.
The Verdict: Get it done
Hailed as ‘influential‘ in the past by Midlands football writer Nick Mashiter, the playmaker has been in inspired form with Leicester this season, scoring eight goals and setting up four others in the Premier League, with his performances earning him a call-up to the England squad for the World Cup.
While he did not manage to add to his one cap at the finals in Qatar, Maddison’s performances at club level over the past year have indicated that he is worthy of a step up to a club in European contention.
Will Newcastle finish in the top four this season?
The former Coventry City ace has averaged 0.35 assists per 90 over the past year, a return which puts him in the 99th percentile compared to other midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues, also displaying his goal-scoring talents by averaging 0.55 non-penalty goals in the same timeframe (FBref).
Given that reigning Premier League champions Man City are also interested in Maddison, a deal may be expensive and difficult for Newcastle to complete, but PIF should do everything that they can to ensure that he is playing at St James’ Park next season.