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Newcastle make James Maddison top target

Newcastle United could seemingly be set to revive their interest in Leicester City sensation, James Maddison, having previously made an approach for the Englishman over the summer.

What’s the word?

According to the Northern Echo, the 26-year-old still remains at the top of the Magpies’ transfer wishlist, with the former Norwich City ace one of the more ‘established’ players that the Tynesiders are currently targeting.

The northeast side had reportedly made a bid of around £50m for the one-cap gem’s services during the recent window, albeit with the Foxes holding firm amid their demand for more than £60m for their prize asset.

A move could well be on the cards in the New Year, however, with the playmaker still facing something of an uncertain future at the King Power Stadium with just 18 months left on his existing deal.

Howe’s own Dybala

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will no doubt be hoping that Maddison can add a further creative spark to his high-flying outfit were the move to occur in the near future, with the £110k-per-week menace having showcased his talent amid what has been a sparkling start to the season on an individual note.

The Coventry-born ace already boasts a haul of seven goals and four assists in just 13 Premier League games so far this term – more goal contributions than any player at St James’ Park – having previously recorded 30 goals and assists during the 2021/22 campaign.

A truly dynamic figure in his playmaking berth, the 5 foot 9 sensation has been a constant thorn in the side of his potential future employers having scored four goals and recorded two assists in just eight outings against the Magpies, notably netting a “sensational” left-footed finish, in the words of journalist Michael Bailey, when the two sides met back in January 2020.

The midfielder’s quality is also evidenced by his likeness to Roma talisman, Paulo Dybala, with the two men said to share a number of stylistic and statistical similarities, according to FBref, including their ability to operate in a central role or off the flanks.

Dybala – who was mooted for a move to join Howe’s ranks prior to linking up with Jose Mourinho’s side – has been a real leading presence in European football over the past few years, netting an impressive haul of 115 goals and registering 48 assists in 293 games in all competitions during his time at former club Juventus.

The Argentina international had also made an impressive start to life at the Stadio Olimpico this season prior to being struck down with injury, having scored seven goals and laid on two assists in just 12 games for the Serie A side.

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Who is this former Celtic player?

To be compared to such a highly-regarded figure is noteworthy as far as Maddison is concerned, with the Three Lions gem notably ranking in the top 6% in Europe for non-penalty goals, while the former Palermo ace ranks in the top 7% for the same metric.

Having previously missed out on getting Dybala through the door, Howe can land an ideal alternative in the form of Leicester’s devastating hero.