Transfer activity in January often appears as a steady trickle, with deals notably harder to complete, but at Chelsea, the torrential winter influx in west London defied such a notion, but that has not impeded plans for further high-profile acquisitions this summer..
What’s the latest regarding Maddison to Chelsea?
According to one recent source, Blues boss Graham Potter is among those interested in a move for Leicester City’s James Maddison, with the prolific playmaker approaching the final year of his contract.
Manchester City and Newcastle United are also credited with intrigue in his signature, and with such robust competition, Chelsea owner Todd Boehly will need to act swiftly and with confidence in order to prise the maestro away.
Last summer, the Magpies failed with a £50m bid for the English ace, with Leicester demanding £60m for his services, but with the combined affluence of Chelsea’s owner and the deterioration of Maddison’s contract, a deal could indeed be struck.
Could Maddison be a Fernandes-esque signing for Potter?
The one-cap international held lofty expectations upon his shoulders after making the switch from Norwich City to Leicester for £20m in 2018, when he was just 21-years-old.
Now 26, the £110k-per-week phenom has made 189 displays for his outfit, scoring 54 goals and 37 assists, playing a pivotal role in the FA Cup triumph in 20/21, consequently clinching the Community Shield against Manchester City.
And this season, despite injury concerns, Maddison, who Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate heralded as “world-class“, has scored nine goals and supplied five assists from 15 starts in the Premier League as he continues last year’s purple patch into the current term, strengthening his stature with an iron-clad grip.
The English “monster“, as once hailed by journalist Josh Bunting, is truly blossoming into one of the Premier League’s finest creative forces, capable of devastating both as a direct threat and an auxiliary option, indeed ranking among the top 1% of attacking midfielders and wingers for non-penalty goals, the top 8% for rate of assists and the top 13% for progressive passes per 90, as per FBref.
This encapsulation of his multi-dimensional tool kit is an affirmation that he is among the finest to ply their trade in his position, and Leicester, who have struggled this season and currently sit in 13th place, six points above the relegation zone, might tread far murkier water had they squandered his services last summer, when the interest was hot.
And with FBref listing Mason Mount as a comparable player, who has been linked with a move away from Chelsea after his own contractual uncertainty, Maddison could find a ready-made role at Stamford Bridge, enhancing an outfit that are currently struggling for goals – indeed, Erling Haaland has more league goals than Chelsea at present.
A further arresting comparison can be down towards Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, who is a further comparable player and whose trajectory could be emulated by the Chelsea bosses with a swoop for Maddison.
He’s a player that the Foxes star watches closely for inspiration, so further parallels could be drawn.
The Portuguese “magnifico” – as dubbed by Squawka – joined the Red Devils for £47m from Sporting CP in 2020, and bears a semblance to his Foxes counterpart with his prodigious output, scoring 57 goals and 45 assists from 160 appearances.
With Maddison already chalking similar figures up at Leicester, one can only imagine the heights that could be reached among an opulent Chelsea team that has spent over £550m on new arrivals since last summer.
And with the £70m-rated United gem ranking within the top 9% of positional peers for progressive passes, there is an illustration of the superlative creative support that Maddison can more than match.
As Maddison continues to prosper, the doubters surrounding his calibre grow thinner with each passing game week, and the tantalising thought of his inclusion in this expansive pool of Blues talent might just crystallise this summer.
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