There’s a new wunderkind in the Championship and if you believe the tabloids, Chelsea are in the hunt for him (as well as many others, including Manchester City, Liverpool, Spurs, and probably every other Premier League team). His name is James Maddison, he’s 21 years-old and he’s Norwich City’s best player. Sky Sports say he’s the entire division’s best player, while others have called him the ‘next Dele Alli’.
You might remember him from doing not much at all against Chelsea in our FA Cup third round meeting(s) earlier this season.
Maddison plays almost entirely as an attacking midfielder, typically in the middle as a no.10. This has been his breakout season with 14 goals and 10 assists in all competitions (13 and 7 in the Championship) in 42 games. As befits their key attacking player, Norwich give him heavy minutes, almost always the full 90. He played every minute of both of our FA Cup matches against the Canaries in January, but he didn’t register a goal or an assist.
He’s played three times for England U21, collecting one assist by splitting the defense to find Dominic Calvert-Lewin in a 2-1 win over Ukraine in March, moving England closer to the U21 European Championship finals.
Before this season, Norwich had loaned him to Aberdeen for half a season, where he didn’t do much. They brought him back in January of 2016 and promptly parked him on the bench until near the end of the season.
So if he has market value, it’s based entirely on what’s he’s doing in the current campaign. And if you believe The Mirror, he does indeed have market value, to the tune of £30 million. Norwich’s local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Press, reports that the club is probably going to sell because they need the money. Their parachute payments from the Premier League end after this season. That means their TV money will drop from £50 million per season to just £7 million, and they have a stout £55 million wage bill they won’t be able to afford. They’re ten points out of contention for promotion, so help on that front seems unlikely.
If Chelsea are indeed interested, they have company. The reports claim that Tottenham have been been suitors since 2016 and they’ve been joined by Liverpool. Whether or not any of that is entirely accurate is open to debate, but there’s no denying that he’s the kind of player clubs get excited about.
If you want to see him in action this season, he’s no.23 in this video. What you’ll see is an excellent shot, intelligent passing and wonderful free kicks. Clearly, he has a lot of talent. Chelsea talent? TBA, as they say.