Report: Manchester United in 'Pole Position' for James Maddison Summer TransferJune 3, 2019
Manchester United are reportedly leading the race to sign Leicester City midfielder James Maddison this summer.
According to Jack Pitt-Brooke of the Independent, while the playmaker has attracted interest from the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, currently it's the Old Trafford outfit who are in "pole position" to complete a possible £60 million deal.
United executive chairman Ed Woodward and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "want more young British players at United next season," Pitt-Brooke noted. "They wanted Jadon Sancho, but the teenage winger is reluctant to move to Old Trafford. So Woodward has turned his attention to Daniel James and the 22-year-old Maddison."
According to Pitt-Brooke, the Red Devils have made the Foxes starlet a "priority" for the current transfer window, although as of yet they have not made an official approach to Leicester.
In the piece, Pitt-Brooke reports the teams linked with Maddison have followed his progress since he was a youngster at Coventry City. The playmaker moved to Norwich City before he arrived at Leicester for £20 million in the previous summer.
Maddison's first season in the Premier League was an impressive one, as he relished taking on creative responsibility in the team. Scouted Football illustrated just how many opportunities he conjured for team-mates:
Per WhoScored.com, when the Leicester man does get into the final third, he is so often accurate with his passing:
On the ball, Maddison operates with elegance. The 22-year-old plays with his head up, can find team-mates in tight situations and ghost past opposition players in midfield too.
After finishing the 2018-19 Premier League season with seven goals and seven assists, it's not a shock some of the biggest clubs in the country are being linked with Maddison. United, who finished a disappointing sixth in the top flight last term, would certainly benefit from his arrival.
At times last term, the team was devoid of invention in the final third, with Paul Pogba inconsistent and little spark coming from anywhere else in midfield. All the numbers appear to suggest Maddison would change that.
Even so, according to Jacob Steinberg of the Guardian, at the moment Maddison is unlikely to force a move:
For United, you sense their summer business will be centred around adding younger players to the squad. The likes of Swansea City's James would likely be a cheaper option with the future in mind, although, at a possible £60 million, Maddison would likely be one of the costliest players in Europe in this summer's market.
Given he's only had one year of top-flight football, paying so much for him would possibly represent a gamble, as talented as Maddison is. However, you sense United's biggest obstacle will be Leicester's reluctance to do business.