Leicester City could be offered Joe Willock in a player-plus-cash deal by Arsenal as they attempt to prize James Maddison away from the King Power Stadium.
What’s the story?
That’s according to The Express, who claim Gunners chief Edu is hoping to slash the Foxes’ £60 million asking price in half by including Willock as part of a deal for the England international.
Maddison has been one of Leicester’s standout performers since arriving back in 2018 and was unfortunate not to be included in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad.
Rudkin risks ruining Rodgers’ project
The former Norwich City ace has been central to the success of the Midlands outfit in recent years, bagging 27 goals and providing 20 assists in 118 appearances, winning the FA Cup along the way.
While Maddison’s magnificent performances have understandably attracted attention from one of the Premier League traditional ‘Big Six’ clubs, director of football Jon Rudkin must refuse the proposed bid if Edu does make the offer.
Leicester have founded their recent success off the back of incredibly smart work in the transfer market.
Young stars such as N’Golo Kante, Riyad Mahrez and Harry Maguire have been picked up for minimal fees before being sold on for astronomical profits a few years later.
The proceeds have then been wisely reinvested into the first-team squad, allowing Brendan Rodgers’ charges to punch well above their weight.
However, after two consecutive fifth-place finishes, it’s time for that tactic to come to an end. If Leicester want to become a Champions League club, then they must act like one.
Realistically though, if the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, or Chelsea come in for one of their prized assets then there’s not much the club’s hierarchy can do to stop them from leaving.
But the Gunners have finished below the King Power Stadium side for the last two years and face a first season without European football for 25 years next term.
Allowing Mikel Arteta’s men to poach one of their most important men when Arsenal are at their lowest point in recent history would have the potential to ruin the project Rodgers has worked so hard on over the last two-and-a-half years.
Willock may be a very talented player, but he’s not at Maddison’s level, and the domino effect could be even more costly for Rudkin and co.