Dear Leicester City fans,
We have some bad news for you, and some worse news to follow. James Maddison will be sold this summer. There’s no way around it. He’s not going to sign another contract, the club need the money and the salary relief, and he needs to be in the top flight to maintain his international aspirations.
The other bad news? We’re not going to get what he’s worth.
Now, as for the destination? We don’t know and we don’t particularly care. The best fit would be Manchester City, but both Spurs and Newcastle currently seem more likely. What we do care about is the price. City are being pilloried in public for demanding £50 million for their best player.
In the meantime, Manchester United are currently offering north of £60 million for Chelsea’s Mason Mount. Is Mason Mount 20% better than James Maddison? Is he a better football than Madders at all? Dear reader, we can assure you: The answer is “no.”
The two of them play a similar range of positions and they have very similar strengths and weaknesses. Madders is a much better attacker and dribbler; Mount is a better defender and is two years younger. As an attacking midfielder, they’re both very good but unless I’m missing something, Maddison has the clear edge.
There will be Mason Mount defenders who will say “Ah, but Mount played on a squad that failed to meet expectations and often seemed to be in disarray!” That might be a valid defence when comparing him to a player with any other club. Leicester City supporters can just narrow their eyes and nod.
So, that brings us (belatedly) to the question: Why will Mount fetch a larger return than Madders? There are two reasons, neither of which are particularly satisfying but both of which are unquestionably true.
The first is a lack of leverage. The Foxes must sell Maddison and Maddison almost certainly wants to leave. Letting him play out his contract in the Championship would satisfy no one, so a deal must be done. If you’ve ever visited a pawn shop when you need to make your electric bill, you know what it’s like not to have any leverage. Every club out there knows we have to sell, and they’re going to use this against us to try to drive the price down.
Meanwhile, Mount plays for one of the big clubs, and while they may want very badly to sell him, they have no need to do so. Likewise, from Mount’s perspective, unless he’s going to Barcelona, most moves will be lateral at best. Chelsea can keep Mount if no one meets their valuation. He’ll wind up loaned to a club in Serie A which, all things considered, isn’t a bad way to spend a year.
The other factor, which is related to leverage but more specific to Chelsea and their ilk, is The Big Club Tax. Players on big clubs cost more. It’s just a fact of life. For example, consider let’s do a thought experiment. What if the teams were reversed?
If James Maddison had played at Stamford Bridge last year, he would have led the team in both goals and assists. Chelsea just sold Kai Havertz for £85 million after scoring 7 times and bagging 1 assist. It’s hard to imagine that they’d ask for less for a midfielder who scored 10 league goals and assisted 9. What would Leicester get for Mount, who scored 3 along with 2 assists? £30 million feels like it would be on the high side.
So, if we get out our crystal ball, we just can’t see the Foxes getting more than £50 million for Madders, and we may have to settle for less. My guess on how this plays out is that we’ll agree to something a little less than 50m. Once the price is set, one of the big clubs will step in and match it and that’s where he’ll go.
Regardless we just can’t see us getting full value because that’s not how the league works. We’d love to be wrong. What do you think? Let us know!
Your Fosse Posse crew
Will Leicester City sell James Maddison for more than Chelsea get for Mason Mount?
This poll is closed
Yes! The Invisible Hand of the marketplace will ensure that economic justice is done.
No! The Invisible Hand of the marketplace is just two fingers, my friend.
James Maddison will never leave Leicester! (please show your work on this one)
* PS Yes, that’s a reference to the great PWEI.