On June 28th, Tottenham confirmed the signing of James Maddison for £40m from Leicester City. The England midfielder will join the club on a five-year deal and the deal represents great value for the North London side when you consider the ability of the 26-year-old and his potential impact on the club.
Although Newcastle were believed to be the frontrunners to sign Maddison at the start of the transfer window, Daniel Levy stole a march on all other competitors by agreeing a fee early with Leicester City. The Foxes were resigned to losing their star man after being relegated to the Championship on the final day of last season and will now look to reinvest the money back into the squad as they look to return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Given Maddison's reputation and transfer fee, there will be an element of pressure on him to hit the ground running next season. The club's new manager, Ange Postecoglou, is sure to bring a new style of play to the club this season but where does Maddison fit into that? Let's take a look.
Maddison to add some much-needed creativity
Last season, Spurs were crying out for some creativity in the middle of the park in almost every game that they played under Antonio Conte. The Italian, whether intentionally or not, didn't have any forward-thinking midfielders in his squad. It meant that they often lined up with at least two, and sometimes three, defensive midfielders in the middle of the park.
While this made them dogged and hard to score against (at times), it made them very predictable and stale going forward. Harry Kane was forced to drop incredibly deep to get on the ball to try and bring the two wingers into play and while he is excellent at this, he is better served to stick in and around the penalty box where he can do the most damage.
If Spurs were looking for a player who is going to help with that creativity then they have certainly got the right man. Since 2018/19, only Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kevin de Bruyne have created more chances in the Premier League meaning Postecoglou is getting one of the very best around. This should mean a return to form for the likes of Richarlison and Song-Heung-Min who both endured terrible personal seasons in 2022/23.
Most chances created in the Premier League since 2018/19:
◎ 437 – Kevin De Bruyne
◎ 373 – Trent Alexander-Arnold
◉ 347 – James Maddison
◎ 333 – Bruno Fernandes
Madders is up there with the best. 🎯 pic.twitter.com/Neflq3NHuw
— Squawka (@Squawka) June 28, 2023
Another issue for Spurs last season was keeping hold of the ball. They ranked tenth in the division for possession stats which isn't good enough for a club regarded as one of the “big six.” Maddison is very comfortable on the ball and will help them see more of the ball next season.
Maddison to help persuade Kane to stay
While on the pitch, Maddison is certain to add a much-needed spark to the Tottenham setup, he could also be beneficial off the pitch. The 26-year-old has featured heavily in recent England squads meaning he has been able to build up a relationship with Harry Kane. The 29-year-old only has one year left on his contract at Spurs and has been the subject of a huge bid from Bayern Munich in recent days.
The signing of Maddison may well convince Kane to stick it out at the club for one more year to see how things go with a creative midfielder playing behind him. If the pair strike up a strong partnership, and Spurs enjoy a successful season, then it may even persuade the centre forward to pen a new contract at the club.
Maddison has the ability to score and provide assists (he's averaged more than 23 G/A per season over the past three years) which has a double benefit to Kane. Not only will Maddison's goals take some of the goalscoring burden away from him, but his assists should also result in the marksman getting even more big chances next season.