Arsenal dealt huge transfer blow as target does not want move

Arsenal have suffered a blow in their pursuit of Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, with Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers reiterating the club’s firm stance that the England international is not for sale. Rodgers has said that none of his players want to leave the club, who enjoyed a successful campaign last term.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta still wants to sign a midfielder this summer, despite two recent additions in the position.

Thomas Partey arrived from Atletico Madrid in January while Arsenal recently announced the capture of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht.

Arteta has lost last season’s loanees Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard, who have both returned to Real Madrid, leaving him with a lack of depth in the role.

Leicester’s Maddison has been earmarked as a target but would likely cost a huge fee to prise away from the FA Cup winners. Rodgers has insisted that the 24-year-old is not for sale and suggested that Maddison would like to remain.

The player enjoyed a successful 2020-21 campaign, scoring eight times in 31 Premier League appearances. However, he failed to even make Gareth Southgate’s 31-man provisional squad for Euro 2020.

The Northern Irishman said:

“In conversations with the club, we don’t have to sell.

“That’s something that’s been made clear. The players want to stay.

“It’s a really exciting time at the club.

“There’s lots of gossip and speculation around but I’m loving working with the guys here, they love being here, and we certainly have no need to sell.

“So I would suspect we’re looking to keep our best players.”

Goal reported in June that Maddison was of interest to Arsenal, who are midway through an overhaul of their first-team squad. Arteta and technical director Edu are replacing senior stars with fresh faces following a disappointing campaign.

The club finished eighth in the Premier League and next season will be their first not participating in a European competition for the first time in over a quarter of a century.

Ben White became Arsenal’s first marquee signing of the summer when he arrived in a huge £50million deal from Brighton last week.

White joins Lokonga and Nuno Tavares in moving to the Emirates Stadium. More deals have been targeted, with Arteta widely believed to be interested in an attacking midfielder and a forward.

Some of Arsenal’s most experienced stars have been linked with departures to facilitate a rebuild. Veteran defender David Luiz, 34, left the club when his contract expired at the end of June.

Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Willian and Alexandre Lacazette have all been the subject of reports suggesting that they could depart.

The Athletic have reported that Arsenal’s stance on Xhaka could reverse, though, with the midfielder close to agreeing a new contract. Xhaka has been widely linked with a move to Roma, where Jose Mourinho has been appointed as head coach.

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