Premier League News: Rodgers expects Arsenal Maddison’s goal to remain

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Brendan Rodgers is confident James Maddison will remain a Leicester City player, despite speculation linking him to Arsenal.

Having already brought in Ben White and Albert Sambi Lokonga, Arsenal are said to be interested in the Leicester midfielder, although Rodgers dismissed such reports on Thursday.

Leicester, who are preparing for the Community Shield on Saturday, won the FA Cup last season before falling to the last hurdle to qualify for the Champions League, with Maddison playing a pivotal role.

“Yes, I think so,” Rodgers said when asked if Maddison would stay at King Power Stadium. “I haven’t been told anything to say it won’t be.

“He is happy in training, he is working hard and has recently become a father so he has responsibilities even off the pitch.

“There is obviously gossip and speculation going around, especially this time of year, but James is a very important member of our team.

“He is a very talented player. His season was interrupted last year by an injury, but I hope this season he can go to show that he is a great player. “

Maddison, whose 13 goals in 31 games last season represented his best return to the Premier League, led Leicester’s odds table with 51, despite playing seven fewer games than second-placed Youri Tielemans.

The English midfielder’s 788 passes into the opponent’s half were second among Rodgers players, but Maddison still finished fourth with 81.22% of those balls finding a teammate.

While Rodgers will have reason to celebrate if he manages to keep playmaker Maddison in his grasp, Wednesday’s friendly against Villarreal has led to problems in defense.

Wesley Fofana, who was only one of two defenders to have attempted at least 50 tackles, 50 interceptions and 50 heads last season, broke his leg against the LaLiga side, leaving Leicester short of center-backs.

Rodgers admitted he was “not overly happy with the way the match was refereed” and concluded that he was “disappointing that something like this would happen in a preseason friendly”.

Already without the injured Jonny Evans, Leicester have just left Caglar Soyuncu as first-choice center-half and may be forced to push Wilfred Ndidi back into defense for Saturday’s clash with Manchester City.

Rodgers now faces a race against time to fill the defensive void as he noted that the 2015-16 Premier League winners are “decidedly light in that area”.

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