Chelsea ‘passed’ on signing £40m ex-Newcastle target; Tottenham won transfer race for three reasons

Lewis Oldham
Tottenham newbie Maddison
James Maddison embraces Heung-Min Son.

According to reports, Chelsea ‘passed up on’ signing James Maddison in the summer but this decision wasn’t down to the Tottenham newbie’s “age alone”.

Maddison completed his £40m move to Spurs earlier this summer following Leicester City’s relegation from the Premier League.

The England international is emerging as a potential signing of the season contender as he has shone for Tottenham during the early weeks of the 2023/24 campaign.

Spurs have been a breath of fresh air so far this term as new head coach Ange Postecoglou has overhauled their playing style.

Maddison has been among their standout performers as he has grabbed two goals and two assists in their first four Premier League games.

The midfielder appeared likely to sign for Newcastle United at one stage but Spurs ended up pulling off a transfer coup to secure his services.

It was reported over the weekend that Chelsea ‘refused’ to sign Maddison because they were unwilling ‘to sign anybody over the age of 25’.

Journalist Ben Jacobs has confirmed that this story about the 26-year-old “is true” but “he preferred the move to Spurs”, he “wanted London” and he was looking to “settle his future quickly after having new-born twins”.

“Chelsea’s strategy has been to largely look at players 25-years-old and under. And it’s true they passed up on going for James Maddison, who is now 26. But that wasn’t really down to age alone,” Romano told Caught Offside.

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“There will always be exceptions to the age ‘rule’. After all, Mauricio Pochettino is also very keen on having Premier League experience. That’s why Raheem Sterling is seen as so important this season.

“Chelsea looked at lots of targets, which is normal in a busy window. But they also knew Maddison preferred the move to Spurs. Maddison wanted London, which also counted against Newcastle who were very keen at one point but had moved on prior to Spurs’ bid. Maddison also wanted to settle his future quickly having just had new-born twins.

“What’s clear with Chelsea is they do want to buy young. They view fees paid as an investment not an expense, and this approach allows them to get players on longer-term contracts and for lower wages. The strategy is ultimately reliant on players growing into their price tag.

“It’s harder to convince a player over 25 to sign a seven-year deal. And it’s riskier for the club as well because the signing could enter into their late 20s or early 30s and be surplus to requirements and harder to offload.”

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