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Newcastle: Noel Whelan backs the Magpies to seal cut-price deal for James Maddison

Newcastle: Noel Whelan backs the Magpies to seal cut-price deal for James Maddison -Newcastle United News

Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has backed Newcastle United to agree a deal to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison in January.

The Lowdown: Previous bids

The Magpies sought to bring the 25-year-old to St James’ Park this summer as they attempted to add a creative playmaker to Eddie Howe’s squad.

Whilst the first £40m bid was swiftly rejected by Leicester, the Tyneside outfit thought they would have better luck with their £50m offer. However, Brendan Rodgers’ side also rejected this proposal, holding firm on their £60m valuation of the player.

Having signed his latest contract extension with the Foxes in 2020, Maddison has just 21 months remaining on his deal at the King Power Stadium.

The Latest: Whelan’s claim

Whelan, who used to work as a pundit for BBC Radio Leeds, thinks that Leicester are more likely to cash in on Maddison in January, given their dreadful start to the season and the playmaker’s application amid the transfer speculation.

Speaking with Football Insider, the 47-year-old claimed: “I can definitely see it happening now with the start Leicester have had.

“He’s been very mature about it. He’s not kicked up a fuss, and I think Brendan Rodgers will appreciate that. He’s been putting in the performances and the effort – and you can see what a standout he is even if Leicester aren’t winning games.

“I can’t see them climbing too far up the league between now and January. With his contract running down, I think Leicester have got to capitalise on that. They need the money if they’re going to go out and buy players.

“He’d be a brilliant fit at Newcastle, I don’t think they have a player quite like him at the moment. He’s probably the missing piece of the puzzle which would give them the complete midfield.”

The Verdict: Brilliant prospective signing

When looking at Maddison’s underlying statistics, it is easy to see why Howe is so keen on bringing him to St James’ Park.

As per FBRef, compared with positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year, the attacking midfielder ranks in the 94th percentile for non-penalty goals, the 90th percentile for shots taken and the 85th percentile for assists, marking him out as someone who can be highly effective in the final third.

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Having been hailed as a ‘superb’ playmaker by broadcaster Arlo White, the 25-year-old would certainly add attacking flair to the Magpies’ midfield, based on the figures above.

Therefore, this would be a brilliant mid-season signing by Newcastle, and it would be a case of good things coming to those who wait.


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