Arsenal outcast midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles is being reportedly offered to other Premier League clubs as he looks for a fresh start to rejuvenate his football career. West Ham United, Southampton and AFC Bournemouth all have a chance to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles, with Arsenal keen to cash in on the academy graduate.
The 24-year-old returned to the Emirates after completing his six-month loan spell at AS Roma. He has one more year left on his Arsenal contract and it looks likely that he might opt for a way out of the club as the midfielder does not seem to be in Mikel Arteta’s plans moving forward.
Maitland-Niles is a product of Arsenal’s famous youth academy that has seen the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah establish themselves as valuable options in Arteta’s project. Maitland-Niles has made 132 appearances for the Gunners (stats via transfermarkt). However, he is not getting any chance under the current manager and the need is there for the player to be playing regular first-team football.
A regular during Unai Emery’s first season in charge of the Gunners, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has often been credited for his versatility as a player, having filled in for Arsenal as a left-back, right-back, wing-back, in midfield and even further up on the wing, as and when required.
Being labelled as “Jack of all trades but master of none”, Maitland-Niles has faced a positional struggle under Mikel Arteta. A tenacious and successful presser, the way he uses his acceleration and stamina to persistently put his targets under duress is a highlight.
Maitland-Niles’ speed is also crucial when rushing back to support a teammate in defence, slowing down counter-attacks while his team reorganize themselves and when faced with 1v1 scenarios.
There are several factors resulting in his exclusion from the first team. Maitland-Niles having his heart set on playing as a midfielder for Arsenal, his recent falling-out with Arteta and the manager’s tactical switches, including a change of formation from a back-three to back-four are just a few of the reasons why the England International doesn’t have a place in the Arsenal first-team squad.
The English midfielder has played through different age groups for the national team, from the U-17s to the senior squad. He was part of the U-20 England team that won the World Cup in 2017.
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Arsenal decided to loan him out to West Bromwich Albion for 6 months. Ainsley had become a regular starter for the Baggies but struggled to get back into the Arsenal squad on his return. He then handed in a transfer request but Arteta had, by then, closed the doors for any exit in the 2021 summer transfer window.
He then went on a six-month loan spell to AS Roma in January. Roma had an option to make the transfer permanent but the Italian club decided against signing him permanently as he failed to reach the Italian club’s objectives during his stay.
Nevertheless, his experience in the top-flight could make a lot of difference in any squad. He is looking for regular game-time, having impressed on his loan spells. The Gunners may not be able to guarantee first-team minutes. Thus, the North London club are willing to let the Englishman leave in this transfer window.
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