Everton change strategy in January plans to sign disgruntled target they missed out on

Samuel Bannister
Luke Ayling, Ainsley Maitland-Niles Leeds v West Brom May 2021

Everton will make another attempt to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles in January if his situation at Arsenal has not improved, according to a report.

Maitland-Niles was the subject of interest from Everton late in the transfer window. They were close to signing him on loan after a spell of the same formula with West Brom last season. However, Arsenal performed a U-turn and blocked the deal.

It prompted a public outburst from Maitland-Niles, who wrote on social media: “All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play.”

He has since held talks with Mikel Arteta over his future at Arsenal, but is yet to start a game this season. In fact, his only two substitute appearances came before that Instagram post.

The 24-year-old thus faces a battle to prove himself and get back on track. His versatility may work in his favour, but Arteta has plenty of other options to choose from in the positions he can play.

For example, Maitland-Niles prefers to play in central midfield, but Arsenal signed Albert Sambi Lokonga there. Furthermore, they already have established players like Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey higher up the pecking order.

Less to his liking but a potential solution, Maitland-Niles can also play at right-back. That position, though, has been bolstered by the arrival of Takehiro Tomiyasu. In addition, Cedric Soares and Calum Chambers provided the existing competition.

Therefore, if Maitland-Niles’ fortunes do not improve, Everton could offer him another chance of joining, according to ESPN.

It remains to be seen whether Arsenal’s stance will have changed by then. But the interest remains from Everton’s part.

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While they tried to take him on loan in the summer, they would be more likely to make a permanent offer in the winter window.

Maitland-Niles’ contract with Arsenal expires in 2023, so they would be running out of time if they want to cash in. Therefore, a permanent transfer bid from Everton may give them something to consider.

To date, the London-born ace has played in 123 games for Arsenal, scoring three goals and providing eight assists. Arsene Wenger awarded him the first 38 of those appearances, before Unai Emery gave him 41, Freddie Ljungberg four and Arteta 40.

He made 15 appearances for West Brom in the second half of last season after 21 for Arsenal in the first.

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Everton told right-back they should sign

While Maitland-Niles would rather play in the centre, Everton could use his ability at right-back now after Seamus Coleman picked up an injury.

Once again, their lack of depth in the full-back areas has been exposed. Rafael Benitez will not have a senior right-back available to him in Everton’s first game back from the international break.

One pundit therefore came up with a solution earlier this week, that wouldn’t cost them a penny.

READ MOREEverton told to move for maverick free transfer after Coleman injury