Newcastle have identified Leicester City’s James Maddison as the top target for January according to The Northern Echo. The 25-year-old will have just 18 months left on his contract when the winter window opens.
The Magpies tried to land the playmaker over the summer but had two bids rejected. The second bid was reportedly around £40m, though it is understood to have been heavily structured.
Leicester have limped out of the gate to start the new campaign with just 1 point. They sit at the bottom of the league table having lost the last five on the trot. Maddison has contributed 2 goals and 1 assist in his five league appearances.
Eddie Howe was hopeful of adding another midfielder with Jonjo Shelvey sidelined until November with a hamstring injury. Maddison’s teammate Youri Tielemans, Ajax’s Edson Alvarez, and Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher were also on the shortlist.
Ultimately, those efforts came up short and the injury to Bruno Guimaraes has limited Howe’s options in recent weeks. Though, Elliot Anderson has been given an opportunity over that span and has not disappointed.
Premier League pundit and former England striker Ian Wright recently claimed that Maddison wanted the move to Newcastle. If true, he remained professional and didn’t try to force the situation like his teammate Wesley Fofana, who joined Chelsea late in the window.
If Leicester’s situation doesn’t improve soon, manager Brendan Rodgers’ job could be in jeopardy. Incidentally, Chelsea have fired Thomas Tuchel this morning after a 1-0 defeat at Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.
Leicester is facing an exodus with a number of stars on contracts that expire over the next two seasons. Tielemans is in the final year of his deal and Leicester were open to allowing him to leave for £25m in the summer.
Another potential summer target to watch this winter is Leeds’ Jack Harrison. Newcastle had bids in the £20m range rejected for the 25-year-old, who has struggled in recent weeks.
Harrison will have just 18 months left on his contract in January and was pulled at halftime in Leeds’ 5-2 loss at Brentford over the weekend. Like Maddison, Harrison reportedly was keen on joining Newcastle this summer.