Manchester United are still monitoring James Maddison over a potential move for the Leicester attacker next summer.
United’s interest in Maddison, 22, emerged in June and the playmaker has begun the Premier League season superbly, tallying two assists in Leicester’s unbeaten start.
Manchester City and Liverpool also admire Maddison but a but a move in the summer was never foreseeable, and the MEN understands Maddison was happy to stay at Leicester for at least another year rather than push for a move. Maddison is contracted to Leicester until 2023.
Maddison fits the ideal profile of target United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has settled upon as part of the club’s recruitment reboot, in that he is a young British talent with Premier League experience. United briefly explored the possibility of signing Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen but Solskjaer regards Maddison as a preferable option.
Gareth Southgate named Maddison in his England squad for their European qualifying wins over Bulgaria and Kosovo this month and sources have told the MEN United believe Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard’s popularity holds sway with international teammates.
Maddison joined Leicester from Norwich last year for £20million and received his first England call-up for the Nations League fixtures with Croatia and Spain last October. Although he is yet to attain his first senior cap, Maddison remained in the Under-21 set-up last term as they prepared for their European Championship campaign in Italy and San Marino, where England exited at the group stage.
It was implied in the summer Leicester had to sell one of their England internationals and United bought Harry Maguire for £80m in early August. Ben Chilwell has established himself as Southgate’s first-choice left-back and has generated interest from City amid Pep Guardiola’s reservations over the erratic Benjamin Mendy.
Leicester could command a similar fee to Maguire for Maddison if his stock continues to rise over the next eight months and he makes his England debut. Leicester received £60m from City for Riyad Mahrez last year, Danny Drinkwater joined Chelsea for £35m in 2017 and N’Golo Kante moved to Stamford Bridge in a £30m move in 2016.
Maddison is bound to start for Leicester at United on Saturday and The Foxes head to Old Trafford third in the league and three points ahead of Solskjaer’s side.
Leicester have been widely tipped to break into the top six with United in transition, Chelsea unable to strengthen due to their transfer ban, the commotion at Tottenham and unconvincing restrengthening at Arsenal.