"Arsenal have taken Ainsley Maitland-Niles for a ride" - Why he has to leave the Emirates
Eurosport's transfer experts at The Beautiful Game and Pete Sharland discuss the future of England international Ainsley Maitland-Niles. After a strong start to the season he has found it hard to get game time and now he may be ready to leave for either West Bromwich Albion or Southampton on a loan for the rest of the season.
‘Taken for a ride’ – Why Arsenal have mistreated Maitland-Niles
Arsenal had looked keen to give him a run of games but his opportunities have been limited as Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has given other players the nod ahead of him.
“This is an interesting one,” explained Odedina.
“Because in the summer, Maitland-Niles was on a list of players to raise some funds. Then we all remember the performance in the Community Shield and he really cemented himself a player going forward for Arsenal.
“Wolves had sold Matt Doherty and they wanted to replace him with Maitland-Niles, and they offered up serious money.
"It feels like Arsenal have taken him on a bit of a ride here, because that would have been the perfect opportunity to play regular football, start week in, week out. Arsenal haven’t done him any favours.”
‘Baffles me’ – Dzeko and Sanchez swap deal raises eyebrows
Eurosport’s Sharland believes that the emergence of two vital players on Arsenal’s left has held Maitland-Niles back.
"When Kieran Tierney arrived, he was going to take time to adjust but he would nail down the left-back, left wing-back position, and Buyako Saka is going to play in the front three with Mikel Arteta’s system. But he [Maitland-Niles] is the odd one out.
"He can play in either of those positions and centrally if needed, but he’s never going to start in either of those positions.
“But you’d want to keep him about because of the value of having a squad player.”
However, Sharland thinks it might be time for him to push for a move for the sake of his international career:
He’s got his sights set on Euro 2020 this summer and he’s not going to get there if he’s not playing regularly. West Brom would be interesting, but Southampton would be perfect for him. Playing under Ralph Hasenhuttl's system would be amazing for him, and I think make him a really attractive option for Gareth Southgate.
Cole meanwhile agreed with both of his colleagues, and pointed out that it made sense for Arsenal to send him out on loan.
“It seemed he was flavour of the month, and there were a number of different factors that led to Arsenal holding onto him," he said.
“There were doubts about Cedric Soares and if he could step up. If there were those uncertainties it made sense to hold onto Maitland-Niles, and with the departure of Sead Kolasinac to Schalke, Arsenal are looking at the fact that he can deputise more regularly on the left-hand side of defence.
“For Maitland-Niles, it looks like his chances will be limited. For Arsenal, so many of their players have left on frees and they haven’t secured significant funds from their departures, so trying to recoup some fees, letting him play for another club, will keep his value and keep him in the shop window come summer.”
‘They need bodies’ – Militao to Liverpool makes ‘total sense’