Is James Maddison the Creative Midfielder Arsenal Desperately Need?
By Jahid Islam
Hello, readers of WLYABlog! I’m Jahid, and today we’ll be looking at James Maddison’s seemingly imminent transfer to Arsenal. Boy, am I excited for this!
Maddison has been reported by ‘TheAFCBell’ as being our “centre of attention” this Summer, and if you don’t know, Bell’s rather reliable. Like an old Toyota. But unlike an old Toyota, Maddison brings intensity, pace, and quick transitional play which has aided Leicester’s counter-attacking football in the last few seasons, and their ascendency up the Premier League Table.
Maddison’s Fbref.com page makes for impressive reading. It’s a sea of green. Especially when it comes to Passing and Goal Creation. With 4.50 shot-creating actions per 90, in the 93rd percentile mind you, Aubameyang and Lacazette must be licking their lips at the potential abundance of chances to feed off of. Though it isn’t all ‘Fofty, Sweg, Sweg’. One possible issue I’ve identified is the relatively poor Pass Completion percentage, which is a lowly 77.3%. This ranks Maddison in the 52nd percentile. However, this low percentage could be explained by the often-ambitious passes that Madders frequently attempts, an ability which should develop as the 24-year-old matures.
Another thing that stood out to me was Maddison’s superb set-piece ability. The boy can hit a dead-ball like it’s no-one’s business. His corner kicks are the stuff of dreams for a player like Gabriel Magalhaes. Inswingers, outswingers, he’s got them all. And after watching Odegaard’s mixed in quality deliveries again-and-again box this season, our aerial threat from offensive corners could be reestablished with Maddison whipping balls in.
Maddison can also hit a live ball spectacularly too. His wonder strike against eventual Champions Man City early in the season actually left me reaching for my glasses. I honestly could not believe what I had just seen. Stunning goals like that make up quite a large proportion of Madders’ overall total. I talked a few weeks ago about Ruben Neves’ striking ability in comparison to Granit Xhaka’s, but the consistency at which Maddison pulls out absolute scorchers is staggering. No need for Ruben-Rockets anymore. Maddison-Missiles are the way. I’m certain of it. It’s got alliteration and-all too.
Defensively, Maddison ranks in the 76th percentile in relation to other atttacking midfielders/wingers in Tackles won per 90. At 1.16, he outperforms the average by quite some way. Nonetheless, this defensive competence is a great tool to have. To analyse and infer conclusions about an attacking player’s defending via statistics alone is a bit unfair, but for Maddison it doesn’t detract from how seriously impressive he is overall. Regardless, if we also sign Yves Bissouma this summer, then the defensive pressure on any attacking midfielder we sign is hugely relieved, and they can create chances more freely without any hindrances.
If I’m being entirely honest, I’ve rated Maddison extremely highly for a while now. The consistency of his performances, combined with his sensational set-piece ability and stellar shooting, won me over from a footballing perspective. I also distinctly remember when I was wholeheartedly convinced. It was when he gave a remarkably honest, educated, and detailed analysis of his own performance in the post-match interview. It wasn’t an isolated case either. He repeatedly displays his piercing intelligence, maturity, and genuine humanity in front of the microphone, and we really need that at Arsenal. A proper leader. His self-confidence and self-assuredness speak volumes to us fans, whilst the coaches must love his solid contributions.
Here’s a link to one of many interviews, if you’re interested. There’s a mention of Arshavin too. Maddison’s a man after my own heart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-tEYYOnBvU
Whilst there have been reports of disciplinary issues at Leicester, we’ve seen the tight ship that Arteta runs at Arsenal through the situations with Ozil, Guendouzi, Aubameyang etc. At Arsenal, Maddison will be one of many (fingers and toes crossed) stars we’ll have in that dressing room, and so his disciplinary issues will hopefully be tempered. Grumbles of discontent at Leicester could also be due to a myriad of other reasons, so I wouldn’t read too much into these reports.
For a fee of around £50-60 million, signing Maddison would represent a huge turning point in the fortunes of the club. A true statement of intent, signalling the board’s intent to push us back up the table. Maddison also has 3 seasons of Premier League football, a key factor in our pursuit of him. Plus, at only 24, he’d be a stalwart in our midfield for years to come. The positives don’t end there; he’s also ‘homegrown’, and hungry to earn another call-up to the England squad. It all sounds too good to be true, but I’m far too biased to care!
If you couldn’t tell already, I’m absolutely giddy with the news of Maddison potentially joining us. To hear that a big money bid’s been submitted for him, and others, is bloody exciting to say the least. It represents ambition, trust, and desire to get back to where we belong. With the potential signings of Bissouma and Lokonga too, that midfield will be mouth-wateringly good, with a perfect blend of potential, Premier League experience, and depth.
Maddison’s already tasted silverware with Leicester this season. At the Emirates, he’d play a pivotal role in bringing his weight in trophies back to North London. It’s an exciting time to be an Arsenal fan. Ladies and Gentlemen, strap in for the ride.
I’ve been Jahid. Cheers for reading. See you soon for more bad puns and interesting takes!