After Leicester City were relegated from the Premier League last season, speculation began almost immediately about the possible transfer of James Maddison. As the most talented player in the Leicester squad, rumours started to swirl about where he would end up with the assumption being that the England midfielder wouldn't continue with the Foxes in the Championship.
Although Newcastle were the favourites to sign Maddison, it has been revealed today that Leicester City have accepted a bid from Tottenham Hotspur for the 26-year-old. Assuming personal terms are agreed upon, and there are no hiccups with the medical, then Maddison is expected to sign a long-term contract in North London.
Have Tottenham pulled off a masterstroke here or are they overpaying for a player who suffered relegation last season? Let's take a look at the data.
Is Maddison worth £40m?
For a couple of seasons, James Maddison has been considered one of the best playmakers in the Premier League and for good reason. Over the past three seasons, he has averaged more than 23 goals and assists per season in all competitions which makes him one of the most consistent players in the division. Only Bruno Fernandes and Kevin de Bruyne have produced better numbers in the Premier League over that time frame.
Although last year he suffered a slight dip in form, he is still only 26 years old which suggests that the drop-off was more than likely just a temporary blip rather than a long-term decline. It also wasn't that long ago that other clubs in the Premier League were being quoted around £60-70m for the playmaker, although that was while Leicester were battling at the top end of the division.
James Maddison has completed first part of medical tests as new Tottenham player, as expected. ✅⚪️🩺 #THFC
£40m deal to be announced soon — here we go confirmed. pic.twitter.com/qXqAhkbCJN
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 28, 2023
At £40m in today's market, Tottenham are signing a player who is a guarantee when it comes to goals and assists from midfield. Not only is he precise in open play but he is also a menace from set pieces which will be most welcome at Spurs given the fact they don't really have a designated free-kick taker. The club were prolific from corners last season, though, and Maddison's delivery will only help with that side of their game.
Despite all of that, Maddison was complicit in Leicester's relegation last season which is likely why the club have accepted a reduced fee for the player. The last thing the club want next season is a player who thinks they are too good to be there as they look to bounce back immediately to the Premier League. The funds will also help the Foxes to build a Championship-ready team with Connor Coady reportedly on the verge of agreeing to a move to the King Power Stadium.
What is Maddison's value to Tottenham?
While £40m looks a good fee on paper for all parties, the real question revolves around whether the 26-year-old will add value to the Tottenham cause. The club are embarking on a new project under Ange Postecoglou and the Australian is looking to install a new positive style of play into the squad.
The first step of that is to refresh the midfield with some more forward-thinking players. Too often last season, Spurs lined up with three holding midfielders in the middle of the park and Maddison almost completely transforms the look of their midfield single-handedly.
With Maddison, Spurs now have the perfect link between those holding midfielders and the forward line. It should mean that Harry Kane, assuming he stays at the club, gets to stay further up the pitch as an out-and-out number nine while his presence should also help breathe new life into Son Heung-min after the South Korean endured a poor season in 2022/23.