Rafa wants Arsenal talent to replace fading star after Everton green light

Date published: Monday 27th September 2021 5:49 - Steve Pearson

Cedric Soarez watching on as Pablo Mari hugs Ainsley Maitland-Niles 2021

After recently revealing the Everton owner had given him the January green light, Rafael Benitez is reportedly seeking to prise an Arsenal star away in the winter window.

Everton kept their powder dry in the summer transfer window. While five new faces arrived to complement the first-team, only Demarai Gray cost a fee (£1.7m).

Financial fair play constraints were hinted to be behind their frugal spending. But in positive news for the Toffees, Benitez recently revealed owner Farhad Moshiri will sanction moves in the winter window.

When asked if he’ll be allowed to spend in January, Benitez replied: “Yeah, I think so. I had that conversation yesterday with Mr. Moshiri. It’s just to be sure we do things the right way, they are very keen to spend the money and improve the team.”

Now, online outlet TransferMarketWeb point to where some of those funds could go.

They reveal Everton are reportedly ‘prepared’ to reignite their interest in versatile Arsenal star, Ainsley Maitland-Niles. And in doing so, the 24-year-old would be lined up as Seamus Coleman’s long-term successor at right-back.

Maitland-Niles was linked with Everton throughout the summer, with his prospective move coming to a head in the window’s latter stages.

With his prospects of regular first-team action at the Emirates bleak, he made an emotional plea on Instagram as he sought a move away.

A deal ultimately failed to materialise, but it now appears the saga could resurface in January.

Everton are short of options at right-back at present. Coleman, 32, has begun to struggle with injuries in recent years. In his absences, Ben Godfrey has often deputised on the right, though he is a natural centre-half.

The article claims Maitland-Niles would be ‘perfectly suited’ to Benitez’s demands. However, he previously stressed he sees himself as a central midfielder, not a full-back.

Nevertheless, it seems likely Maitland-Niles transfer stories will make the headlines once again in the coming months.


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Saka talks trophies with Arsenal setting stats benchmark

Meanwhile, Arsenal talisman Bukayo Saka made a bold trophy declaration spurred on by his side extending a unique streak to start the season.

Per Transfermarkt, Arsenal’s starters averaged 24.7 in age in their impressive 3-1 thumping of Tottenham. That made it the fourth youngest starting eleven fielded by any side in the Premier League this year.

Numbers one, two, three and five in that list are also held by Arsenal, indicating the faith Edu and Arteta have placed in youth after signing six players all under the age of 24 this summer.

In the post-match fallout, Saka could barely contain his joy at the victory. And in quotes carried by the Evening Standard, Saka stressed winning trophies is a realistic aim for this crop of young stars.

“We can achieve anything, no matter what age. With age comes experience but we have a lot of experience in this squad anyway which helps us.

“We have a lot of quality and enough experience to achieve a lot. We’re going to take it game by game but if we play like this we have enough quality to win trophies.”

READ MORE: Euro Paper Talk: Chelsea need January acceleration to win race for top talent

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