REPORT: Ainsley Maitland-Niles Open to Leaving Arsenal to Gain Regular First-Team Football

Ainsley Maitland-Niles
SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - JUNE 28: Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal during the FA Cup Fifth Quarter Final match between Sheffield United and Arsenal FC at Bramall Lane on June 28, 2020 in Sheffield, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

According to David Ornstein of The Athletic, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has decided that if he is to gain regular first-team football he must leave Arsenal.

The Hale End graduate has been at the club since the age of six and has gone on to make 96 first-team appearences since his debut aged 17 in the Champions League under Arsene Wenger.

However, at 22, he has so far failed to find a regular first-team place. The England youth international played in all six of new head coach Mikel Arteta‘s first games but since has only made four substitute appearances in the Premier League.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles Open to Leaving Arsenal in Search of Regular First-Team Football

Beneficial to Himself and Arsenal

The lack of game time, but more importantly the apparent lack of trust, is what is frustrating Maitland-Niles, and he now believes it would benefit both parties for him to move elsewhere.

It appears that his great versatility has become his downfall. Maitland-Niles has previously made clear his ambitions to play as a central midfielder. However, his pace and defensive ability has led to him being deployed as a right-back for large parts of his Arsenal career. With Hector Bellerin now having made a full recovery, and the recent permanent signing of Cedric Soares, it appears he will not be featuring in that position either.

Ornstein suggests that Maitland-Niles does not want to wait until the end of the season to discuss his future. Instead, he would like a resolution to be found much sooner.

Right Time for Ainsley Maitland-Niles to Leave

Maitland-Niles has three years remaining on his current deal, yet the lack of game time at his age makes him believe that now is the right time to look elsewhere and leave the North London side.

Arsenal have been linked with a number of midfielders in the upcoming transfer window. As well as this, the Gunners already have some great midfield talent in the squad. This makes it unlikely that Maitland-Niles will be getting many opportunities to express himself in his favoured position. He will hope he can get these regular first-team opportunities elsewhere.

Ornstein suggests that there is interest in England and Germany for the 22-year-old. With Arsenal likely to miss out on Europe, an already limited transfer budget will benefit from this potential sale. It will help to bring in some much-needed funds to help Mikel Arteta task of rebuilding this struggling Arsenal side.


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