Ainsley Maitland-Niles is likely to stay in London if he leaves Arsenal – with rivals Tottenham reportedly leading the race.
Arsenal have put Maitland-Niles on the market as they look to raise funds. The versatile 22-year-old wants guarantees of regular playing time – and probably wants that to be in midfield.
He has not been able to achieve that at Arsenal this season. Maitland-Niles made just 15 starts in the Premier League – mainly at right-back.
Therefore, the Arsenal academy graduate may have to seek a future elsewhere. And with his club aware of the situation, they have made him available for transfer.
Brighton were one of the first clubs to show an interest in Maitland-Niles. However, since Arsenal’s decision to put him on the transfer list, several other teams have come forward.
According to The Sun, Tottenham are one of the leading competitors for his signature. Jose Mourinho rates Maitland-Niles for his versatility and, unlike other interested parties, can offer him European football next season.
But the tabloid claims that West Ham, Crystal Palace and newly promoted Fulham are also weighing up bids. That means Chelsea are the only London-based Premier League club who are not interested.
Arsenal are holding out for around £30m before parting ways with the former England youth international. However, £20m may be more realistic.
ARTETA OVERRULED ON MAITLAND-NILES
If Maitland-Niles joins a direct rival, it surely won’t be welcomed by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta – who wanted to keep him in the first place.
Despite some reports suggesting Maitland-Niles does not feel trusted by Arteta, others claim the manager was not the one who decided to put him on the transfer list.
According to The Telegraph, Arteta wanted Maitland-Niles to stay at the Emirates Stadium. However, with the club needing to find a way to fund Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new contract, the board have overruled him.