A number of Premier League clubs are now in the race to sign Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer but one in particular has got Gunners’ chiefs excited.
It seems inevitable that the 23-year-old will leave the Emirates in the off-season. Having come through the club’s youth setup, he has made 121 senior appearances, scoring thee goals. And England came calling in 2020, with the man from Goodmayes earning five Three Lions caps to date.
However, after only limited game time in the first half of 2020-2021, he was loaned out to West Brom in January. He had made just five Premier League starts among 11 appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side.
That followed on from 20 appearances the previous season and, back in March, the versatile player explained his reasons.
“It was just more of a chance for me to show what I’m capable of other than sitting on the bench for the rest of the season and rotting away,” he said.
The former Ipswich Town loan man made 14 top-flight starts for the Baggies. Albion’s attempt to remain in the top flight ended in failure but it gave Maitland-Niles some much needed playing time.
He is now back in north London but it looks set to be just a temporary stay. A number of clubs have been linked with the man who plays right-back or in central midfield.
Manchester United were credited with an interest earlier this year. While Leicester City, Brighton, Southampton and Watford have all been mentioned as possible suitors in the past.
Burnley have now been added to that list but it is the Leicester link that Arsenal may pursue.
Maitland-Niles to aid Maddison capture
It was reported by The Daily Mail on Wednesday that the north Londoners hold an interest in signing Foxes midfielder James Maddison. The 24-year-old is a star of the East Midlanders side and it is not known if Brendan Rodgers will let him leave.
Last season, the man with one England cap struggled with injury and his form dipped as a result. But he still appeared in 31 league matches and scored eight goals as Leicester finished fifth.
Arteta is prepared to offer Maitland-Niles as a makeweight in a deal to bring the talented schemer to the capital. It has been suggested that Leicester rejected a £70million offer from a Premier League club for Maddison last summer.
The King Power outfit then tied him to a new four-year, £100,000 per week deal but Arsenal remain keen. But should that deal fail to materialise, there are many clubs eager to snap up Arsenal’s forgotten man.