Tottenham star James Maddison will finally be taking part in a north London derby – two years after he was overlooked by Arsenal.
The 26-year-old was on the Gunners’ radar in 2021 with manager Mikel Arteta desperate to bring in a creative No.10.
It appeared to be a straight shootout between the then-Leicester star and Martin Odegaard, who spent the second half of the 2020/21 season on loan at the Emirates.
But after just three goal contributions in 14 Premier League matches, Arsenal fans were unconvinced the Norway skipper was the right choice.
And supporters were delighted when reports claimed the club had entered negotiations with the Foxes regarding England international Maddison.
However, it was stated that they baulked at his £60million asking price, leading them to turn Odegaard’s temporary stay from Real Madrid into a permanent transfer worth £34m.
In that time, he has chipped in with more goals and assists than Odegaard in all competitions.
He scored 18 goals and provided 12 assists in the 2021/22 campaign, before registering ten strikes and nine assists last term.
Odegaard, meanwhile, found the back of the net seven times and recorded five assists in his first full season in north London, before banging in 15 times and laying on eight goals the following season.
But it was Odegaard who got the better over Maddison in their three meetings against each other with Arsenal winning on each occasion.
However, Maddison has gone from strength to strength since joining Spurs, with his dazzling displays earning him the August Player of the Month award.
And he goes into Sunday’s north London derby at the Emirates as Ange Postecoglou’s danger man following his explosive start to the season.
Two assists on his debut in the 2-2 draw away at Brentford was followed up by goals in the wins against Bournemouth and Burnley.
Having provided a goal contribution in each of his matches on the road this term, Arsenal fans know the Three Lions midfielder is the player their side have to stop.
He has been pivotal in Tottenham’s best start to a league season since 1965, with both Arsenal and Spurs on level points after the opening five matches.
Maddison even boasts double the goal contributions over Odegaard in the top-flight so far this term, with the ex-Los Blancos man scoring twice.
Despite playing fewer minutes, Maddison has created more than double the amount of key chances Odegaard [five] has mustered.
That is in addition to making 71 passes (including crosses) into the opposition box compared to Odegaard’s 30.
He has also had more touches in the opponents’ penalty area with 25 compared to 17, while also having one more progressive carry with the ball at 34.
To further highlight Maddison’s stunning start, he has recorded 32 progressive passes, with Odegaard only managing 11.
Arsenal boss Arteta will no doubt have no regret over bringing in Odegaard over Maddison, having made the player his captain last year.
But the Arsenal fans will always be left with a sense of ‘what if?’ – especially after the club brought in Kai Havertz in the summer after failing to reignite their interest in Maddison.
And you can guarantee Maddison will be looking to put on a show in Sunday’s clash in his quest to fire Spurs to a first league win at the Emirates since November 2010.
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Source From: Football News, Transfers, Opinion – talkSPORT