Arsenal youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles is all set to leave on loan in search of first-team football. He is keen to move away from the Emirates, with Southampton and West Brom interested in securing his services before the January transfer window slams shut.
Maitland-Niles has built a decent reputation as a utility player with his ability to cover multiple positions on the pitch, his determination and aggression. The Arsenal starlet has played 5 matches for England last year under Gareth Southgate. He was used as a left wing-back in England’s national team, which is one of the positions he was being deployed in the Arteta’s system. But things have changed for the youngster as Arteta switched back to 4-2-3-1 and Kieran Tierney is the first choice for Arteta at the left-back position.
Arsenal legend Martin Keown in his latest interview with talkSPORT said that Arteta might have lost his faith in the player. He also added that the 23-year-old could play in midfield but the lack of game time suggests that there is no interest in the player from the manager.
Keown said: “He’s an England International and played very well for England, he looked good at the end of last season playing at left wing-back. But without the wing-back system, it doesn’t seem like there’s a place for him.”
“I thought he played very well in the Europa League in central midfield and they were going to launch him from there. But maybe Mikel Arteta doesn’t really believe in the player,” Keown opined.
Arteta has a clear intent in rebuilding the squad this season and has already offloaded players like Sokratis, Kolasinac, and Ozil. Arsenal have added players like Martin Odegaard who has recently joined the Gunners from Real Madrid on loan and goalkeeper Mat Ryan from Brighton.
Also, Maitland-Niles would be concerned about sealing a place in the English Squad for the upcoming Euros. Arteta spoke recently regarding the situation, “It is a concern when there is international football involves as well and the chance to reach that opportunity. I understand that Ainsley wants more minutes and what he needs to do is fight, train and challenge his team-mates and show us that he can be one of our starters”.
It is going to be a tug of war for the English star as many top teams are attentive to the situation.