Arsenal will reportedly inform one unsettled player that he must stay until the end of the season – but another disgruntled star could be permitted a January transfer.
A major rebuilding project is well underway among the Arsenal squad. They have removed several players they no longer wanted and brought in reinforcements they trust more. But the process is not yet complete and more changes could be afoot.
One area still undergoing a transition in Mikel Arteta’s team is the territory he used to roam himself, midfield. They have made signings there in each of the last two summers; Thomas Partey arrived in 2020 and Albert Sambi Lokonga a year later.
In turn, that has led to reduced opportunities for some of the players who were already at the club. For example, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny both could have left over the summer.
Maitland-Niles was a target for Everton after spending part of last season on loan at West Brom. Ultimately, the move was blocked and the midfielder voiced his dissatisfaction on social media.
Elneny, meanwhile, was wanted in Turkey – where he previously spent a loan spell with Besiktas – due to their transfer window being open for longer than the Premier League’s. But he too remains an Arsenal player beyond those deadlines.
According to a fresh update from The Sun, both players are considering their futures again. Neither’s gametime has picked up to the extent they would have liked.
Lokonga and Partey are seeing the bulk of the action while Granit Xhaka undergoes a spell on the sidelines due to injury. Therefore, Maitland-Niles and Elneny are both ready to ask questions of Arsenal unless anything changes by January.
Arsenal will only grant one exit wish
However, the report warns that Maitland-Niles will once again be “ordered” to stay.
Xhaka is not expected to return until the New Year and Partey is set to travel for the African Cup of Nations in January. Therefore, Arsenal do not want to be left light in a key position.
Elneny will also likely be going to AFCON, but Arsenal may have cashed in by then anyway. Maitland-Niles may thus have to make up the numbers as a backup option.
Although it should give him his wish of playing in midfield, it will not meet his desires for regular gametime.
But he is under contract until 2023, whereas Elneny’s deal expires at the end of the season. Therefore, if one is to leave in January, it is more likely to be the Egyptian.
Arsenal would hope to recoup a minor windfall for Elneny. It would be preferential to losing him for free at the end of June.
Therefore, although both want out, it only seems likely to be Elneny that gets his wish in the winter. Maitland-Niles will once again likely have to be patient for chances. But at the age of 24 he would have been hoping for more faith by now.