Leicester have rejected a second offer from Newcastle for midfielder James Maddison – with the latest proposal made at just over £40m.
The Magpies saw their opening £40m bid rejected at the weekend and the latest offer was understood to be over that figure.
Leicester are believed to value Maddison, who joined the Foxes for £24m from Norwich in June 2018, at closer to £60m.
Newcastle are now deciding whether to return with an improved offer or focus on other targets.
If Newcastle were to complete a deal for the Foxes midfielder, Maddison would become the club’s record signing – eclipsing the £40m they paid Hoffenheim for Joelinton in July 2019.
Maddison scored 18 goals and provided 12 assists in 53 appearances in all competitions for Leicester last season.
Eddie Howe remains keen to strengthen his squad despite some setbacks in the transfer market this summer, having been rebuffed in their attempts to sign Everton midfielder Anthony Gordon, while French striker Hugo Ekitike opted for a move to Paris Saint-Germain instead of Newcastle.
The north east club have made three summer signings so far with the arrivals of Aston Villa left-back Matt Targett, Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and Lille defender Sven Botman.
Rodgers: No way I want to sell Maddison
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers wants to keep Maddison and joked after Sunday’s 1-0 friendly win over Sevilla that £40m would buy “three-quarters of his left leg”.
Leicester, who are the only top-flight side yet to make a signing this summer, still need to sell to bring in reinforcements but Rodgers insisted they will not be taken advantage of over Maddison or others.
“There is obviously, within the club, a financial situation which isn’t ideal in terms of wanting to do business. It doesn’t mean we will be exploited and we don’t want to be losing our best players,” he said.
“You don’t want to lose your best players and then not be able to bring any in. That doesn’t stack up.
“With James, he is looking the best he has in my time here. He is a joy to work with. I love him as a young guy, seeing him grow from when I first came in to a 25-year-old father.
“He is really pivotal to us. There is no way I would want to sell him.”
Has Fofana dropped hint he is leaving Leicester?
Leicester do not want to sell Wesley Fofana – but Sky Sports News understands they will not stand in his way if a Champions League club make an acceptable offer and he is determined to leave.
Chelsea are interested in signing the 21-year-old and considering making a bid as they look to sign a new centre-back.
Leicester, however, have not put an exact figure on Fofana’s valuation.
Rodgers reflected the club’s position that Fofana is “not for sale” after they beat Sevilla 1-0 in their final friendly of the season on Sunday.
“Naturally, he’s a top talent,” Rodgers said. “He still has lots of improvements to make. He’s very happy here, he really enjoys being here.
“Naturally, he will attract the interest of other clubs. Our job, in not signing anyone so far, is to at least keep the players we have. I know that’s the intention of the club.”
Fofana made a cryptic social media post on Instagram on Wednesday with a caption in French that translates as: “My father told me you’re going to annoy a lot of people when you start doing what’s best for you and I’ve begun to realise it.”
He has also removed references to Leicester from his Twitter biography.
Leicester standing still an ominous sign?
Sky Sports News’ senior reporter Melissa Reddy speaking on The Transfer Show:
“The issue for Leicester is that they are the only Premier League club that hasn’t strengthened their senior squad so far, and he is not the only experienced player that could potentially leave.
“When you look at that squad and you think about the injuries it has had, you do think it’s a group that needs to be refreshed.
“If there’s going to be exits of fundamental players – Kasper Schmeichel, James Maddison, possibly Wesley Fofana – without solidifying the squad and sanctioning these exits, I’m actually a little bit worried about Brendan Rodgers.
“The expectation of Leicester is they should be pushing in and around the Champions League places but they have been standing still which is not a good indication of how they’re going to perform this season.
“There’s been a lot of talk they need to let players leave first before they can invest, and ultimately they will know their targets. They’re excellent sellers and they’ve recruited well in the past.”
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