Arsenal's search for a new number 10 continues after they faced disappointment in their chase for Martin Odegaard, who decided to remain with Real Madrid. The Norwegian midfielder spent the second half of last season on loan with the Gunners and the north London club were hoping to re-sign him for the upcoming campaign.
Mikel Arteta has made signing a creative midfielder a priority this summer. The Spaniard was impressed by Odegaard and was keen to sign him on a season-long loan or on a permanent basis this summer.
The Norway skipper initially admitted interest in returning to the Emirates Stadium, but has now decided to stay with the La Liga giants and fight for his place under Carlo Ancelotti. Arsenal will have to now look elsewhere and have landed on Leicester City's James Maddison as a potential alternative.
The England international has been impressive for the Foxes in the last couple of campaigns and Arsenal are said to be big admirers of the attacking midfielder. Maddison scored 10 goals and provided 11 assists in 42 games last season and is a mainstay in manager Brendan Rodgers' squad.
Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano confirmed Arsenal's interest in the 24-year-old Englishman but admits that they are a long way from completing a move. At the moment, there is just admiration for the player with a view to a potential move.
"The truth is that the player is appreciated and that Arsenal are looking for a player in this position because they lost Martin Odegaard," Romano said on Eye to Eye podcast.
"So they're looking for a new number ten and Maddison is highly appreciated, this is true. From appreciating a player and signing a player, there is a lot to do."
Maddison is contracted to the Foxes until the summer of 2024, which will give City all the advantages on the negotiating table. The 2021 FA Cup champions have no intention of letting one of their key players leave but if Arsenal meet their valuation, which is around £70 million, they could be tempted to cash in.
"At the moment, I think it's really, really complicated, because at the moment, because we're in July and we have two months of market ahead, we have to see what happens in the next weeks," Romano added. "They want a crazy bid and at the moment, Arsenal have not made any official bid."