Via David Ornstein in The Athletic (£) comes news that Ainsley Maitland-Niles feels it’s time for him to leave Arsenal this summer.

It’s news that won’t come as a massive surprise, given how little he’s been involved under Mikel Arteta – he’s started just one game since the restart, although he did have an impressive cameo against Wolves 10 days ago.

That came when he replaced Kieran Tierney at left-back, but the writing has been on the wall since the arrival of Cedric Soares from Southampton given he played so much of his football on the right hand side.

It was erroneously reported that he had refused to play as a defender, in truth he simply expressed his preference for his favourite position in midfield or as a winger.

However, last week he insisted he’d play wherever he was picked, saying, “Obviously I do prefer playing central midfield but that is not to say I don’t want to play right-back or that I’m not going to do the job there if the manager asks me to.

“If the manager says to me ‘Ains you gotta go in goal this game I will put the gloves on and I am ready to rock n roll’.”

It’s a great attitude, but the report states he feels he now needs to leave to get regular playing time to develop his career.

The 22 year old has made 28 appearances this season, with a goal and two assists to his name, and is closing in on 100 first team appearances for the Gunners.

With a contract until 2023, he’s also a sellable asset, hopefully with some of that English premium, and if he does go let’s hope whatever money we receive is reinvested sensibly.

Spending on big wages for a couple of seasons of 31 year old Willian (who turns 32 next month but until then remains 31 because that’s how it works),  wouldn’t be seen as building for the future.

Maitland-Niles recently changed his agent, a sign that a player is trying to make a change in his career, and it’s the same one who represented Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in his move from Arsenal to Liverpool.

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LEFT08

That is very reasonable from AMN. It’ll be sad to see him go but I get where he is coming from. I think he’ll have a good career in the premier league too, with a good coach and a bit of luck. Maybe at a place like Leicester, Everton or Newcastle.

Paul Roberts

I think Everton have had their fill…:-)

Artetas Assistant

35 million for a great English midfield destroyer. With 5 million extra if they sell him for 80+

Flash

After the game against Wolfes the following question came into my mind:
What are those capabilities that Ndidi posess but there is not a good chance that AMN would be abble to reproduce (at least)?
I really didn’t know…

Thessaloniki

Positional discipline? Tackling? Intensity?

Flash

I think if there is something in football that is learnable – it is positional discipline.
As far as the other two concenr: we should ask Adama Traore. (by the way: statistically AMN is our best tackler at the moment)

Light

Can the rest of the team do same? Let them all go, only keep Martinelli, Saka, Willock, Nketiah, Martinez and Tierney.

Welsh Gooner

So you don’t want to Keep Auba then?

Light

To pay him 250k when we are not in Europe?

Welsh Gooner

And who do you suggest we replace Auba with?

Light

Do Wolves have a 20 goal striker? Get the serbian striker from Madrid

Welsh Gooner

Jovic? The player who flopped? Also, Wolves don’t have a 20 goal striker but are doing better than us so I don’t understand your point.

Mosquito

Man,he said:” did Wolves have 20 goal striker” to prove that you don’t need that to succeed. Use your brain

OnlyBeingHonest

He cost them 55 mil, we won’t be able to afford him

Leemillion

He won’t have a good answer to that. Man is planning on inventing a proven winger who will get us 20 plus goals a season.

With very little money, I might add.

Welsh Gooner

Genetics have taken a huge leap forward in creating human life from a tube then.

karl

Hard to argue with you Light. The current team have taken us rather expensively to mid table. I wonder how many players you can shift without it looking like a jumble sale:-)

Berlingoon

would be a pity. Hugely talented guy with a far higher ceiling than Cedric.

Futsboller

Indeed — athletic, good on the ball, and just needs direction/coaching to his game. Give him a position, teach him how to play it, and watch him flourish. Shame we’ll be seeing that happen elsewhere.

ClockEndRider

Must have made the career limiting error of not appointing Joorabchian as his agent. He seems to be able to sell just about any dross to Arsenal…,

Public Elneny

I really feel like he had the talent to have made the 1st choice RB/RWB position his own. Instead, we bring in an ageing mediocrity like Cedric

Very high chance it will be another decision we look back on and be perplexed by

Artetas Assistant

I think Maitland comes into his own at 25-26, then he’s absolutely imperious in any position

Nick

when did this ceiling nonsense start? a higher ceiling? i must be getting old

John C

It’s a sudo-clever way of saying wishful thinking. AMN barely looks like a footballer to me, I don’t know what i’m missing

Artetas Assistant

That’s because he’s in autopilot yet makes it look easy. He’ll grow into a monster when he steps off autopilot. The turn off for you is that You’re recognizing the nonchalance

John C

He’s such a monster that he’s our 6th choice midfielder and 4th choice right back.

Canadagoon

Count me as one of those who wanted to see him given a run of games in midfield after that performance vs. ManUtd, was hoping the recent comments about improved attitude would be a turning point. Would much rather keep AMN than Guendouzi

Glen Helders left foot

Arteta has more faith in David Luiz than AMN, worrying times ahead

Tanned arse

The problem with him in midfield is his first touch and inability to take the ball facing his own goal on the half turn. Not that xhaka is very good at that either. I’d then question his impact or his game once in possession from a central position. I don’t think his mind is sharp enough or switched on enough to be progressive (although that’s just a feeling as he’s hardly had opportunity to develop there). I think he has elite qualities but certain deficiencies that make it hard to play him there. The guy has just about every attribute… Read more »

beNZed

Do not like.

Welsh Gooner

The truth (Ornstein) has spoken. It is a very mature attitude from AMN. I would have liked to have seen him moved back into midfield to show Arteta what he can do in his preferred position. But such is football life. Let’s hope that the fact he is young and English, he can fetch a good price. Maybe Dortmund will buy him, they seem to like buying young English players.

LEFT08

Shouldn’t be sold for anything below 20 million.

Welsh Gooner

Thats a fair price to start from considering he does have a lot of potential.

Kevin

Plus a sell on clause 20-30%

A Different George

No one has any idea what the post-Covid transfer market will look like. Any comparison to what it cost to buy a “similar” player last year (always pretty dicey) is now just pure guesswork. The director of football at Sporting speculated that Bruno Fernandes, who he sold to Man United for something like 80 million euros a few months ago, might be worth 10 or 15 million now. I’m not saying that’s right–just that any numbers we throw around could be wildly high.

Qwaliteee

A nice lad and a reasonable player, but not sure if he is suitable for The Arsenal. That said, we’re all but a mid table club at the moment, so lofty expectations of yore are sadly very much on the back burner at the moment; thanks to our defence, game by game is where we’re still at. Hope AMN can sort himself out a good club where he can flourish. I for one wish him all the best.

Mcheza

Dad.

There are players you want to be tested to see if they can turn up and sustain it.

Chuffy

Can we get 20 million for him? He’s very versatile. Don’t really think Nelson is going to make it either, Pepe is RW for the foreseeable and Arteta fancies Saka their occasionally. Truth is Nelson isnt as good as either and even Martinelli could play there. Probably worth about 15 million so he could be moved on as well. If we sell well enough there is funds to be generated.

greb

This has a real whiff of ‘exclusive’ from his agent. To get Ornstein to break the story in a respectable way, and it makes him look good. Keeps him in the good books with the fans and club

Artetas Assistant

Yeah, I don’t see why Mikel would want to lose him. He’s so important to the physical energy we desperately need in this team. Imagine AMN in Left Inside-wing-back. Or LCM. In addition to all the other positions he can rampage in

Paul

He’s a solid squad player but not at the level we need to be where we want to be, so if first team football is what he desires, which all players should desire, then he needs to go elsewhere.

KongoKim

I like him lot and would be very sad to see him go. also i don’t think we get the money he is worth due the playing time he had. with no european football and no possibilities to improve the squad this might be his chance….dunno. every news shite atm

karl

I’m amazed that he never got a chance in central midfield considering the paucity of quality options. He must have wondered what he had to do with the team performing so badly.

John C

Probably be a better player?

There must be a reason why he’s a the bottom of the list for a midfield spot.

Kinghenrythe14th

He’s far down on the list of players I’d sell at the moment. Every team needs a versatile player to plug in gaps or enable a manager change tactics or formation during a match without recourse to the subs bench.
Ainsley is our best player in that circumstance. Selling him will be a big mistake. In fact I’ll stick my neck out and say I’d sooner sell Bellerin than Niles. A club like Leicester will buy him fairly cheap and sell him on for twice the price in a couple of years.

Artetas Assistant

They’ll be eyeing him to replace Ndidi (if he’s still as wonderful as he was earlier reported)

Jeanette KLIGER

Real shame to see young players like AMN and perhaps Holding being snubbed in favour of wrecks like Luiz and Kolasinac. Holding has plenty of potential, as does AMN. Nurture them, FFS, Arteta!

Jarghs

He’s a central midfielder, who can play on the wing, who has played most of his games as a right back… Yet he’s still a better left back than Kolasinac.
I hope we can find a way to get him playing more regularly and that he stays.

Pakgooner

Farcical. Always played out of position, kept his head down and went with it. He loves the club and is proud to wear the shirt because he never said a word. I’ll be more disappointed than sad in seeing him go because he will become a really good player elsewhere. Best of luck

Cygans Parting

I couldn’t agree with you more. This is near sighted bullshit from the club. I want Arteta to succeed and we have improved a little here and there but I’m very disappointed in the way the young players have not been given more game time since the restart. With nine subs on the bench why haven’t we seen Ainsley and Rob given more opportunities when some players have just kept on costing us results. From what I’ve seen, Holding hasn’t done much wrong when he’s played. Not like the monumental errors of Luiz Kola and Mustafi. With season basically over… Read more »

SarcasmB0t

But – but – but – non-negotiables.
Luiz and Kolasinac and Xhaka do them, and they’re what the coach wants.
(Maybe the issue is what the non-negotiables are and what they aren’t – not making dumbass errors doesn’t seem to be a non-negotiable, for example)

Santori

As expected. I said it before that : 1) His best bet was to knuckle down and continue at fullback which he has been playing in for 4 seasons now on both flanks. The grab of Cedric would suggest the gaffer does not think AMN has done enough. 2) He is too careless and casual for midfield. This is a central position which we have seen him give away the ball many times on ocassion he has been trailed there. 3) His other role would be as a back up utility ala the limited Elneny. BUT frankly we need space… Read more »

John C

Agreed, his passing isn’t good enough to play in midfield, either by way of retention or range.

As you say we need an upgrade in quality, i’d be quite happy to see AMN and/or any of our players for that matter, sold to buy better quality to improve our starting 11

kenechukwu

Here goes Another Serge Gnarbry…

Brett

I’ll always remember him as the one youngster who felt he should come out to the media and tell them where he preferred to play (I know he didn’t refuse to play). Not sure him making amends by saying he’s willing to play anywhere is indicative of a great attitude. That should honestly be a given for any young player trying to make it at Arsenal (and amongst our most talented – they all seem to be happy to just get on the pitch vs. their favoured position). I think moving him on is a win-win for all involved. He’s… Read more »

WengersNoseHair

I’m pretty sure he only said that in response the to barrage of criticism and abuse he was getting when he started playing at RB. Not sure that was indicative of him having a bad attitude.

RoyalT

Good got him. Let the young man make his path in life

Telipot

Yeah…. He can feel that he will become the next Eboue. A good player, but not consistent enough to get first 11 and a fixed position.

loose_cannon

Would be a shame if he goes, a very versatile and talented player. Could see him doing very well if he can get regular game time in his preferred position somewhere.

Cultured Determination

I like AMN. We should keep him as a squad player.

Gudang Bedil

Won’t begrudge him a move although he’d a great squad member. We also need the cash to strengthen.

YaGunnersYa

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has the perfect profile as a homegrown talent to bolster the squad of a mid-table Premiership club with ambitions to compete in European cup competitions. Given the situation we find ourselves in, and the difficulty in attracting world class players given the current market, I hope we don’t come to regret losing one of our most promising youth academy graduates. Retaining AMN’s services would allow us to play with the tactical flexibility of an inverted full-back who drifts into midfield (not to dissimilar of a role to the one in which Xhaka has been deployed before the lockdown).… Read more »

canadrian

The sky is the limit for Ainsley. Here’s hoping he goes to the right manager to kick start his career.

SarcasmB0t

Nope, his mind is the limit to Ainsley.
Here’s hoping his next manger only plays him in his most preferredest position, so little Ainsley won’t go to the media to comp…, ehm, “express preference” again.