Arsenal are reportedly prepared to offer up Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as makeweights in a potential deal to land James Maddison.
The Gunners announced the £17million signing of Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga on Monday but Mikel Arteta is keen to further strengthen in this area of the pitch before the transfer window closes.
Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos have both returned to Real Madrid following loan spells in north London and Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira also look set for the exit door at the Emirates.
There had been talk of an opportunity opening up for Matteo Guendouzi at the heart of Arteta’s midfield but he too left to join Marseille on loan last week.
England international Maddison is understood to be high up on Arteta’s shortlist of targets but Leicester’s hefty asking price has proved to be a stumbling block for Arsenal, with £50million unlikely to be enough to reach an agreement as it stands.
According to The Daily Mail, Arsenal would be willing to throw a peripheral squad player into the deal this summer, with academy products Nelson and Maitland-Niles both available as possible sweeteners.
Nelson made just two substitute appearances for Arsenal in the Premier League last term while Maitland-Niles spent the second half of the campaign on loan with West Brom, who went on to suffer relegation.
The report suggests Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers could be receptive to such a proposal given he is on the hunt for a wide attacker.
Maddison has been revelation at the King Power Stadium since arriving from Norwich back in 2018 but struggled with hip and knee injuries last season and missed out on Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the European Championships.
The 24-year-old committed his future to the Foxes with a new long-term contract worth £100,000-a-week last summer, which sees him through to 2024.
Addressing the speculation, Kevin Campbell backed Maddison to reach the ‘next level’ should he complete a switch to Arsenal but argued that Leicester’s reported £70m asking price for the England star was ‘crazy money’.
It’s really exciting to hear he’s on our radar. I like him, I think he is a brilliant player,’ the former Arsenal forward told Football Insider.
‘He is still just 24 so he is a good age. He is a young, talented player. If he comes to Arsenal I believe he can go to that next level.
‘The sticking point will be the fee, though, because I believe Leicester are asking for crazy money at the moment.
‘I know he is a very good player but £70million quid is a lot of money. It will be very interesting to see if Arsenal can get that price down a bit.’