James Maddison linked with Manchester United
According to transfer news from the Express, Manchester United face the same hurdle as Arsenal in their pursuit of James Maddison. The Leicester City midfielder is on the radar of both the Gunners and United, but the Red Devils can be priced out of a move. Football.london (h/t Express) cites a similar problem for Arsenal, as the transfer fee could be out of their reach.
The 24-year-old English playmaker has impressed during his time at the King Power Stadium, and interest in him from two of England’s top clubs does not come as a surprise. The Red Devils have already secured the signing of Jadon Sancho. In light of that, is signing Maddison really that important for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer?
Man United don’t have an urgent need for James Maddison
With all due respect to Maddison’s quality and talent, Manchester United are not in urgent need of a playmaker. The club already possess the mercurial Bruno Fernandes, who was nominated for the PFA Fans’ Player of the Season during the 2020/21 campaign. The Portuguese midfielder has made a big impact at the club since his move from Sporting CP in January 2020.
United agreed on a deal that could cost up to £67.7 with add-ons, and Fernandes has netted 40 times and assisted 25 goals in his 80 appearances for the club during that time. It is hard to imagine the club already looking to replace such an in-form player with anyone else so quickly, especially considering his contract goes on until the summer of 2025.
Competition is important, and Fernandes currently has that at Old Trafford. In the few games that Fernandes didn’t feature for United, the club started midfielders such as Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, and Donny van de Beek in the number 10 position. The latter has been struggling for starts despite moving to the club just last summer.
If the club signs Maddison, Van de Beek would be senselessly pushed even lower in the pecking order. If Solskjaer really wants perennial cover for Fernandes, he already has Lingard and Van de Beek available to him next season. Lingard was on loan at West Ham United last season and Solskjaer has already mentioned that he has the Englishman in his plans at Old Trafford.
United are better off focusing elswhere
Maddison may also not come cheap. According to The Athletic (Subscription Required) [Express], ‘only a nine-figure fee’ may be enough to price Maddison away from Leicester. That is a considerable fee especially when one recalls that United have already spent £72.9mon signing Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.
It then makes more sense for the 20-time English first-division champions to focus on areas where they can strengthen. A centre-back partner for Harry Maguire and someone to compete with Anthony Martial in the No. 9 position are two viable options that Solskjaer should concentrate on during the summer.
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Hence, it is best for United to save some money and concentrate their purchasing power towards areas in their starting XI where they can upgrade or strengthen. As for Maddison, he still has 3 years on his deal at Leicester.
And who knows, pursuing him a few transfer windows from now where his contract is nearing expiry may just offer favourable terms to his suitors. But for now, United are just fine without him.