Arsenal have been encouraged to offer up talented midfielder Joe Willock in a player-plus-cash deal that could almost halve the cost of signing James Maddison from Leicester, per Archie Griggs of the Express.
The Express report that Maddison has now been identified as the Gunners’ top playmaker target with the permanent signing of Martin Odegaard looking out of the question.
Arsenal, who have always tended to be pretty careful with finances under the Kroenke ownership, could find a swoop for Maddison difficult to sanction due to Leicester valuing the 24-year-old at around £60m.
Mikel Arteta may not be able to spend such a considerable fee on a signing considering that the North London outfit need to strengthen in several other areas as part of a summer overhaul.
Arsenal will have to be creative in the transfer market this summer and the Express suggest that they should offer Leicester the services of Joe Willock in an effort to reduce the cost of Maddison.
Willock, who starred for Newcastle in a loan spell in the second-half of the season that brought a Premier League Player of the Month award for May, is reportedly valued at £30m.
So, Arsenal could effectively halve the outlay they’d otherwise need to recruit Maddison if Brendan Rodgers and the Foxes hierarchy were willing to take on Willock as part of the deal.
It remains to be seen whether technical director Edu is considering such formulas when it comes to transfers ahead of next season, and if an in-form talent such as Willock would be a makeweight.
The deal would prove to be logical for both sides in some senses, Arsenal get their primary wish of paying out less for Maddison whilst Leicester would get a solid, albeit different style of midfielder, to develop like they did Maddison.
Edu and the recruitment team will need to think outside of the box if they are to get anywhere near completing the amount of business that fans expect from the club ahead of next season.