According to latest reports, Nottingham Forest are interested in signing Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer. Steve Cooper’s side have recently been promoted to the Premier League and are looking to strengthen their squad ahead of the new season.
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 a part of Arteta’s plans moving forward.
Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has previously worked with Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The Welshman knows AMN from when he worked with the Football Association and coached multiple England age groups. He was the England U-17 boss and led them to the World Cup victory in 2017.
The English midfielder has played through different age groups for the national team, from the U-17s to the senior team national team. He was part of the U-20 England team that won the World Cup in 2017. Thus, the Forest head coach is well aware of the player’s qualities.
He is looking for regular game-time, having impressed on his loan spells. However, the Gunners may not be able to guarantee his spot in the first-team. Thus, the North London club are willing to let the Englishman leave in this transfer window.
According to Mirror, Nottingham Forest are keen on signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal and have made him a priority signing. The Reds have already made contact with the Gunners and are looking to step-up their interest as soon as the player returns from his holiday.
Forest look forward to bolstering their squad and are willing the splash the cash. They have returned to the Premier League after a long wait and want to put in a strong fight next season. AMN could be a great addition to help them in achieving their goal for the upcoming season.
#NottmForest to step up their pursuit of Ainsley Maitland-Niles when he returns from holiday, as Djed Spence looks to be heading elsewhere (#Spurs leading after talks with #Boro): https://t.co/OzHTtF6aQx pic.twitter.com/k9XrLl3MF5
— Lyall Thomas (@SkySportsLyall) June 15, 2022
The midfielder has shown a lot of promise and talent in the few appearances he has got. However, Arteta’s plans do not have a place for him, leading to a lack of game time. The newly-promoted side will have to improve their squad as they will play in the Premier League after 23 years. They will need to increase their squad depth to deal with possible injuries and fixture congestion.
Why Has Ainsley Maitland-Niles Struggled With Game Time At Arsenal?
Maitland-Niles showed some promise when Mikel Arteta was newly appointed as the coach of Arsenal. Hector Bellerin had suffered a long-term injury and was not available for selection. Whereas, Stephan Lichtsteiner was unable to keep up with the pace of the Premier League. AMN was the makeshift right-back for Arteta’s side but had seriously impressed the fans with his performances in crucial matches.
However, the player was adamant that it wasn’t his natural position. He likes to play in the midfield or the right midfielder position. The right-back position sometimes allows him to play in the right-midfield position but has more defensive duties than he desires. This led to Maitland-Niles losing his position in the lineup. Arteta had previously explained what Maitland-Niles should do to get his place back:
“Ainsley needs to put his head down, work hard and show me every day in training he wants it more than anybody else and that he wants to play for this club and fight for his place.”
Arsenal decided to loan him out to West Brom 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 to AS Roma in January.
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The 24-year-old midfielder has faced a similar situation in Italy too. He started the first five games out of the available six. However, he later fell out of favour as Rick Karsdorp and Nicola Zalewski were preferred over him.
Roma had an option to make the transfer permanent but the Italian club decided against signing him permanently as he failed to reach the club’s objectives. Nevertheless, his experience in the top-flight could make a lot of difference in the Nottingham Forest squad.
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