Cast your mind back to a year ago and James Maddison was a player Manchester United were being tipped to sign.
The Manchester Evening News reported that United were ‘confident’ of being able to lure Maddison to Old Trafford.
Convincing Leicester to do business mid-season was a different matter, especially with the Foxes sitting healthily above us in the Premier League table in January.
If Maddison wanted to play Champions League football in 2020/21, his best bet appeared to be to stay put.
The situation has been slowly changing between January and now, and comes to a head this weekend when the two teams face off for a top four place.
A win or draw for United will consign Leicester to fifth place and a Europa League spot, although in the case of a draw, they could move to fourth if Chelsea lose at home to Wolves.
Maddison move would be back on the agenda
Maddison will not play in the fixture after undergoing a minor operation on a hip injury, The Telegraph reported this week.
If United end the season in the Champions League and Leicester in the Europa, then a move to Old Trafford to join ex-teammate Harry Maguire looks even more tempting.
In January the conversation was over James Maddison or Jack Grealish for a summer transfer to United.
The situations of their two clubs, with Villa heading for relegation and Leicester for the Champions League, made Grealish far more likely.
Now Villa could stay up, and Leicester could fall narrowly short of their aspirations of a top four place.
Maddison has been stalling over signing a new contract since January. The Leicester Mercury reported last week that talks are still ongoing.
The Mail is among many outlets to tout Maddison as worth £80 million, the same fee United paid for Maguire. This would be a steep price and it may need Maddison to push for a move for it to drop.
This past season he has scored nine goals and provided three assists. United need an alternative to Bruno Fernandes and Maddison, 23, would be a perfect fit for his role, although Jack Grealish’s ability to also play on the left wing counts in his favour.
A second target could also become viable
James Maddison’s teammate Wilfred Ndidi is another player who United could ‘unlock’ with a victory this weekend.
The Express reported in June that Ndidi had been added to United’s summer shortlist.
The defensive midfielder is an ideal age at 23 to replace Nemanja Matic, and has Premier League experience.
OwnGoalNigeria reported Leicester would seek a fee of £60 million for Ndidi, which seems more fair value than Maddison’s price tag.
Ndidi averages 4 tackles per game in the Premier League this season, more than any Premier League midfielder, and 2.5 interceptions. He could become a problem for Manchester United this weekend.
Again if Leicester finish the season outside the Champions League places, then the prospect of signing Ndidi becomes more viable.
Previously with Leicester on course to finish inside the top four and United outside, signing Ndidi did not look like a realistic option.
Leicester may be determined not to sell a second key player to the same club for a second successive season, but in this market, clubs have to pay serious attention to big offers.
At present both Maddison and Ndidi are on the fringes of becoming top targets for United. If Solskjaer’s side can knock the Foxes into the Europa League this Sunday, then the chance to add one of them at least becomes more likely.
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