Romano refuses to rule out January move for £60m Premier League playmaker Newcastle ‘really like’

Date published: Thursday 5th January 2023 9:55 - Jason Soutar

Reported Newcastle target James Maddison prior to a World Cup match

Newcastle United ‘really like’ Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, though there are ‘no negotiations’ taking place at the moment, says Fabrizio Romano.

Maddison is currently injured after sustaining a knee issue prior to the World Cup.

He failed to play a single minute in Qatar as England crashed out in the quarter-finals against 2018 winners France.

It seems evident that Maddison had not fully recovered from the knee injury he picked up against West Ham on November 12.

Injury expert Ben Dinnery actually told Football Insider this week that Leicester staff ‘wanted a second opinion from a specialist to help diagnose his issue’.

“Maddison went out to Qatar with an issue that presented in the posterior – the back of the knee, almost to the point of being a hamstring issue,” he said.

“He was deemed fit enough to train and then he returns to Leicester and suddenly he has this negative reaction.

“But instead of the pain presenting at the back, it’s more on the anterior aspect at the front of the knee.

“And so that was something that had the medical team perplexed, which is why they sought a second opinion with a specialist down in London.

“Thankfully, those evaluations and assessments came back relatively clear.

“So expect him to undergo a bit of a mini midseason programme to ensure that he comes in at peak fitness – the last thing Leicester want is to worsen his injury at such a crucial time.“

Leicester are clearly missing their talisman having lost all three encounters post-World Cup, including a disappointing 3-0 home defeat to the Magpies.

The 26-year-old has been fantastic this season, by far the Foxes’ best player in what has been a woeful 2022-23, scoring seven and assisting four in 13 Premier League matches.

It is no surprise to see the likes of Newcastle express an interest in signing Maddison, and he may be keen on a move with his current team struggling.

Newcastle reportedly lodged two bids to sign the attacking midfielder last summer, but fell short of Leicester’s £60million valuation.

The Geordies are very reluctant to overpay for players due to Financial Fair Play rules and have always been keen to set a precedent that they will not splash the cash despite their ludicrously rich owners, ensuring clubs do not price them out of transfers.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has provided an update on Maddison’s future amid interest from Eddie Howe’s side.

Writing for CaughtOffside, Romano claims Newcastle ‘really like’ the England international and have a ‘strong interest’ in signing him.

However, there are ‘no negotiations’ going on at the moment, though it is stated that it is unclear if Newcastle will make another bid this month or in the summer.

A January move has certainly not been ruled out, and you would expect the Magpies to be active in the transfer market.

Howe’s men are currently third in the Premier League and could definitely stay in the top four if they add one or two new faces in the winter transfer window.

A new central midfielder should be the priority for the former Bournemouth boss.

Jonjo Shelvey is sidelined with a long-term injury and Sean Longstaff is surely a player who will be replaced by a new face in the starting XI either this month or in the summer window.

While Maddison is not a deep-lying midfielder, he would be Newcastle’s strongest, if not only, playmaker/No. 10.

Another type of player Howe will probably be looking at is a versatile forward.

Newcastle were strongly linked with Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby last year, with the German club reluctant to let him leave for less than £60m.

READ MORE: Rooney isn’t the answer for Everton. But no manager who could do the job would touch it…

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