Leicester City have been linked with a move for Manchester United attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard, but only if one of their prized assets departs this summer.
A player-plus-cash offer was reportedly rejected by Leicester, and the club’s hierarchy have wasted no time in identifying their desired replacement should Maddison depart the King Power Stadium, according to Football.London.
Brendan Rodgers has maintained that the former Norwich City ace is happy at the Midlands outfit, but refused to rule out a possible exit in the current window.
“I know he is very happy here, and he wants to be here. If anything comes to the club, Jon Rudkin (director of football) would tell me straight away, and I would deal with it then, but there has been nothing that’s come my way,” Rodgers said.
“I’ve not been told anything to say (he won’t stay). He is happy in training, and he is working hard, and he is a talented, important member of the squad. He had his season disrupted by injury last year, but hopefully this season, he can show what a real top player he is.”
Lingard enjoyed a sensational loan spell with West Ham United in the second half of last season, bagging nine goals and laying on a further five assists in just 16 Premier League appearances for the Hammers.
His outstanding displays for the capital club caught the eye and earned praise from several pundits, including Rio Ferdinand.
“I’ve argued with pundit after pundit, on-air, and off-air. He could play in any top team because he’s an intelligent footballer. He can play off one touch or two touch,” Ferdinand said on Five.
“He gets judged on his antics on social media. Some people, it rubs them up the wrong way, and they don’t like him because of it and a lot of the youngster generation love it.
“But if you’re looking at him as just a cold footballer, anyone who knows football surely has to see the kid has a talent.”
As per WhoScored, Lingard recorded a passing accuracy of 83.6% last season and made an average of 1.1 key passes per league game, highlighting his effective use of the ball.
Those assets could see the England international form a deadly partnership with Leicester’s new striker Patson Daka, an electric hitman who thrives on quality through balls to score his goals.
Manchester United’s £30m price tag was reportedly too much for West Ham to stump up, but if Maddison leaves Leicester, Rudkin must use part of the proceeds to bring Lingard to the King Power Stadium, making the transition to life without their No.10 as smooth as possible.