Former Newcastle United chief scout Graham Carr has revealed that we were once ‘in the driving seat’ to sign Leicester City star James Maddison earlier in his career.
England international Maddison has transformed into one of the best attacking talents in the country under Brendan Rodgers in recent years – a far cry away from his humble beginnings at League One club Coventry.
Carr claims that he was tipped off about the midfielder in the 2015/16 season, with our own youngster Adam Armstrong spending that campaign on loan at The Sky Blues.
Here is what he said to The Chronicle about the ‘one that got away’ during his time on Tyneside:
“Adam Armstrong was on loan at Coventry City when Tony Mowbray was manager there. I was friendly with Mark Venus and they were desperate to take him back on loan to Coventry.
“James Maddison was there – my scouts were there and they put his name in very strongly to us. Newcastle were in the driving seat to get him because of Armstrong but it never happened.
“You just didn’t always know why a deal hadn’t been done when you recommended a player.”
Stories like this do make you think just how Maddison would have fared in a black-and-white shirt if things came to fruition.
2015/16 was our relegation season – would he have kept us up? That seems unlikely given his inexperience at the time, but Rafa Benitez would have likely had a similar impact on his career as Rodgers in the following Championship season.
One thing is for sure, Maddison has turned into a joy to watch regardless and fully deserves his claim as one of the most exciting talents in the Premier League.
I doubt he regrets moving to Leicester, a side that have shown real ambition to challenge in recent years, and one that plays a demanding style of football guided by one of the best young managers around.
They have kicked on from their shock title winning season which was, ironically, in 2015/16, while we lie in the same boat we have always been in under Ashley. Christ, we would have probably had him playing at wing-back had he joined us under McClaren!