Newcastle United ended the summer window having brought in four new faces – plus the recent addition of free agent Loris Karius – although one man who failed to arrive at St James’ Park was Leicester City playmaker, James Maddison.
The Englishman had seemingly emerged as a leading target for the Magpies in their quest to bolster manager Eddie Howe’s midfield ranks, with the club believed to have submitted two bids in an attempt to strike a deal, the second of which totalled a reported £50m.
Despite that sizeable offer for a player who has just under two years left to run on his existing deal at the King Power Stadium, the Foxes appeared in no mood to sell their prize possession, with reports suggesting that Brendan Rodgers and co were demanding more than £60m were he to depart.
That failure to strike an agreement would no doubt have been a huge source of frustration for those on Tyneside, as well as potentially the player himself, with pundit Ian Wright suggesting that the one-cap, England international would have “wanted” to make the move.
The 25-year-old had warranted such interest after recording an impressive haul of 20 goal contributions in the Premier League last term, with Allan Saint-Maximin, for example, having led the way for Newcastle with just ten goal involvements across all competitions in the 2021/22 campaign.
Unsurprisingly, recent speculation has suggested that PIF could make another move for Maddison in the New Year, having previously enjoyed success in the winter window last season, following the arrivals of the likes of Dan Burn, Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes.
With any move likely to come at a rather hefty cost, however, the northeast side could well find an ideal, potentially cheaper alternative in the form of Celtic midfielder, Matt O’Riley, with the 21-year-old having sparkled at Parkhead this calendar year.
The former MK Dons man – who arrived in Glasgow on £1.5m deal back in January – is believed to be attracting interest from top club’s across Europe, with the Magpies said to have been one of those who were considering a late bid over the summer.
The belief is that the Denmark U21 international could well cost in the region of £15m-£20m were he to depart in the near future, with the player himself having recently admitted that there was interest in his services, notably namedropping Newcastle as a potential suitor.
Like Maddison, the London-born star operates as a dynamic link between midfield and attack in Ange Postecoglou’s side, with his devastating creative threat showcased by his haul of four goals and seven assists in just 27 games for the Hoops to date.
That tally includes five assists in just six league games thus far this term, having laid on two goals in brilliant fashion in the 4-0 thrashing of Old Firm foes Rangers, teeing up teammate Jota with a defence-splitting pass in that clash.
Lauded as “immense” by talent scout Jacek Kulig, the one-time Fulham youth product also caught the eye in the recent Champions League encounter with Real Madrid, with journalist Guillem Balague suggesting that the youngster will go on to enjoy “bigger highs” such is his undoubted talent.
A hugely exciting prospect who is beginning to deliver on the wider European stage, the 6 foot 2 “magician” – as also dubbed by Kulig – should well be a target to consider as the market re-opens in January, particularly should the aforementioned Leicester man prove too difficult or too expensive to prise from the Midlands.