Friday, January 27, 2023

Arteta expands on Willock and Maitland-Niles loan moves

Mikel Arteta has given a bit more background on the decision making around the deadline day loan moves for Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The former will spend the rest of the season with Newcastle, while the latter is hoping for midfield playing time with West Brom.

The Arsenal boss revealed he had spoken to Willock about a development loan during the summer, but felt he gained from being a solid performer in the Europa League – scoring three goals and providing three assists.

“We talked in the summer about a possible loan,” said Arteta.

“I said to him that I wasn’t comfortable with that because I wanted to give him minutes. He was going to play different competitions and in my opinion it was the right thing to do for his development.

“I think he’s played 17 or 18 games in this period which is a lot. He’s played to a big level.

“Now we have less competitions and I thought he was going to have less time and I thought maybe the best thing was to give him another 14, 15, 16 games in the Premier League to have 30 to 32 games in one season.

“For his age and what he’s done in the last few years, that will be a really positive thing.

“He can completely agreed. We found the right club, the right manager and coaching staff to do that.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a really successful period for him.”

However, with Maitland-Niles, it’s a slightly more complicated situation.

“Ainsley is in a different phase of his development,” continued the Spaniard.

“He’s 24 [not until August], he’s an English international, he’s played more games and he just wanted to start football games and he wanted that guaranteed.

In my position, it was really difficult to do that. He was willing to experience something else, he’s never been on loan like Joe, [he actually spent the 2015-16 season on loan with Ipswich] and I decided to allow him to do that.

“He can play in different positions. He might have the possibility to play in midfield which for him is important.

“When a player’s main will is not financial, it’s just to play football, it’s difficult to stand in his way when you don’t feel he’s going to start that many games.”

Arteta is expecting both players to return in the summer, at which point decisions will be made about what happens next.

Both will have two years left on their contracts, and depending on how their loan spells go, they could be offered new terms, or put up for sale to raise funds for incoming transfers.

Arsenal fans will be keeping an eye on Newcastle and West Brom between now and May, and let’s hope the young Gunners do well.

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“He’s 24 [not until August],”

He’s a lot nearer 24 than 23, that’s a fact…


He’s 23, now that is a fact…..


You know that’s not how it works.

Smits McKey

August is six months away. You do the math.


Even if he was born august 1st he’s not “a lot” nearer 24 than 23 on feb 4th, even if you “do the maths” — on feb 4th he is 3 days closer to 24 than 23 and that’s assuming he was born aug 1st. Max

Smits McKey

I think I outed myself as an American by saying “Do the math” instead of “Do the maths” 😳




i’m having a hard time figuring out who got the reference and who didn’t

SB Still

Arseblog is very funny. However, this has become tedious.

Different cultures say it differently – some say the completed and some the running age.


The most interesting part of this article is that we finally found out which side of the age debate Mikel stands. He obviously believes that once you are progressing towards your 24th birthday, you are already considered 24.

I’ve always believed you can’t possibly be 24 until you are 24. But, Mikel is much more intelligent than me and my mind is now full well changed.


Interesting article. But what the hell is happening with Reiss?

Medium Mozart

Played for the U23s yesterday evening, apparently.

Nelson, to his credit, acquitted himself well and was Arsenal’s standout player as he scored a superb free-kick, demonstrated his excellent technical ability and frequently sought to push his side forward.’
-Jeorge Bird

I had high hopes for him, but… now I’m less sure.


If ever a buy killed a player it’s Arteta buying Willian. It’s not Pepe who really suffered, it’s Reiss. Has Willian – who I don’t hate – done anything Reiss couldn’t have done. I think its actually affected how Reiss plays. He must have been watching Willian and thought if I don’t express myself, always lay the ball off and don’t run in behind, I might get in this team. It might not be the end for him. You just never know. And turning up for the u23s scoring a great freekick and acquitting yourself to a level below you… Read more »


He’s 23 until he’s 24, doesn’t Arteta know how it works?


Proof that you’re a long-time reader 😉 Do we get a reward or something?

Announce Bendtner

I’m very interested to see how willock does if he gets a good run of games. I think it’s make or break for him in terms of the decision at the end of the season. AMN, in my view, may still be retained if he doesn’t do so well in a central role because we’ve seen his capability and competence in tried and tested positions. Willock I hope has another gear to find that elevated his status.

I hope they both do exceptionally well and come back to Arsenal giving Arteta some good team selection headaches.


A 15 game run for a 21yr old isn’t make or break.

Announce Bendtner

Not make or break for his career but in my opinion will give Arteta enough information to decide whether his future is at Arsenal or not.
He could not perform well here and then go light up another league.


We saw flashes of the kind of ability that Smith Rowe is displaying when he played in the Europa League.

I’m hoping he goes the same way


I don’t fully agree, but I would have to like this post because of your name only anyway.


Unpopular opinion maybe, but I think I just hope both of them perform well, in order to be sold for a good fee in the summer. AMN won’t be given a real chance in his preferred position at Arsenal, and Willock looks a bit limited to aim for better than a squad-player role for us. And raising decent money for young decent English players is never to be sniffed at.

But hey, if the lads prove me wrong, I’ll be more than happy with a nice slice of humble pie.


Agreed, I dont see either of the two pushing anyone else out of their place. Would love to be wrong!


I think to have a group of young players coming from the academy such as Willock, AMN, Nelson, ESR, Saka, nkietah, Balogun is very exciting, especially when coupled with young players like Leno Gabriel Tierney Martinelli. It can allow us to have a good solid team where under guide of some senior players they can inspire each other and hold each other to account.
Yes, sell one or two each window, but bring in younger players from the academy.


My sentiments exactly.

Well said.


Mark my word, willock is going to go all the way in becoming an elite midfielder. I hope it’s at arsenal though. If not it’s their lost.


yes mark your word and come back to it when hes playing in the championshipe in 2 or 3 years time. you dont have a clue about football if you think hes going to be elite


Here’s an idea: what about disagreeing with Rick without insulting him?

Del Boy

I can’t see them making the grade at Arsenal tbh. Not for a regular starter position anyway. If we got Iwobi sized offers in the summer, for sure Arteta would do that to re-invest. But got to say, hope they do well whatever happens. Seem like really nice fellas


if they find consistency and arteta really uses them, i would be fine with them being kept as squad players. the way we didn’t use AMN we might as well have sold him for 15m as i don’t think we’ll get much more this summer (although we probably should)


Let’s hope they get chances


AMN could be as good as Bissouma… He’s got the slickness, quality on the ball and the athleticism & confidence.

He maybe suffers from concentration issues, over-confidence and the nonchalance of it all I guess


quality on the ball? his passing is no where near good enough to play centre mid or his 1st touch. hes a good athelete and his quick so he does ok at fullback. hes too limited to play midfield.
this reminds me of theo boeating on about how he wanted to be a striker for years


AMN is on last chance saloon. Having said that he was on last chance last season and survived with a spurt of decent pre-season performances. Frankly I mentioned then it would be a massive mistake to promote AMN and Cedric and sell Bellerin then. Cedric had yet to put in a decent run and AMN was still not confirmed over a season. And we’ve seen this season, some of his poorer habits are still there. Come this summer we need to be very calculated. BC likely we will not have sufficient funds for quality. Most likely we may be out… Read more »

Man Manny

I think both futures lie elsewhere. They should command a combined fee of £30m+ in the summer. That would go some distance in getting us an upgrade on Xhaka even though I fully expect him to remain as a squad player.


Real competition in midfield now.

I dunno about new kid just yet but Ceballos looking very sharp in training.


Priorities for this summer look like finding a left back and securing a top attacking midfielder, along with making some decisions about striking options and possibly sourcing another scoring threat. I don’t think either of these two will return from a half season loan as the solution in any of these three positions. I’d be happy to be proved wrong, though. That being the situation, these moves are most likely about maximizing their transfer value.


Last chance saloon for Willock.

AMN should now be deputising for Tierney – although, to be fair to him, Cedric has played quite well thus far.

Hopefully a loan spell will provide more answers than questions.

Loan Ranger

I’m a big fan of Ainsley, but I can’t see him playing midfield for us on a regular basis and think we’ll cash in this summer.
Why choose West Brom over Southampton as well. I find that really strange. I can only assume he wasn’t guaranteed a starting place?

It seems a more natural transition for Joe.

I hope I’m wrong on Ainsley and that they both come back stronger than ever though.

Max P

Ainsley isn’t happy being backup and only playing bit part in this team. As an England international neither should he be happy. He needs to be playing games regularly now, and he can get that at another team. Personally I am not convinced that he has the quality to play as a starter for a boba fife top 6 side. He’s got great qualities but unfortunately they aren’t as good as what KT or Cedric can offer in Arteta’s system that relies a lot on the overlapping fullback run and good cross. He’s won with us and played a huge… Read more »

Cultured Determination

I feel willock has the potential to,take up one of our CM spots in the squad. May not be a starter every game, But a good suqad,player who can play 30 games a season (start and sub). AMN would be,more utility at rb, lb, cm, winger. He can also get 20+ games. Every team needs these players. Hate to compare with them, But the example that comes to mind are Nicky butt and P neville in manure.

Hank Scorpio

I don’t think either has a future at Arsenal under Arteta. Likewise Nelson. Best for their careers to move on. It also frees up space for other youngsters and hopefully raises some funds. Having said that I’d like to see all 3 carve out a career at Arsenal. Just don’t see it happening.


Although it’s not popular with some Gooners, I still think that AMN could well be sold in the Summer. We need to raise money for transfers “in” as the article confirms (and which most of us knew) and there has been interest in him. Not sure about Willock though.

The basic problem remains, if we want to buy who will we sell. That means which players are actually wanted by other clubs, not which ones we want to/can release. That excludes several of the “usual suspects” and narrows the field.

Hank Scorpio

The answer to your question is that home grown players are likely easiest to shift which given current issues with number of foreign players in the squad means they’ll likely need to be replaced by home grown players either by giving youth a chance, paying a premium for replacements or a combination of both.


Does anyone know which position he played at Ipswich and how he did?


Often played as wide right midfielder/winger at Ipswich Probably because of his pace ? I remember in the not too distant past AMN getting rave reviews as a central mop up midfielder telling us he was superb? If he was disciplined enough to keep it simple and to use his pace for covering I reckon he could become a good holding midfielder? But & it’s a big but he needs to lose the nonchalant attitude and focus a lot more on his passing West Brom might actually help him with that but time will tell


Alan Shearer was the guy telling us all his good he was in that role of cover midfielder


“When a player’s main will is not financial, it’s just to play football”

I didn’t know such things were possible. I will have to completely reassess 😐


For all I can see MA is sistematically and methodically killing our Academy prospects, which are also homegrown players, and replacing them with semi-retired used to be top players giving them multiple year contracts and by doing so actively discourages our academy players to believe they might have future with Arsenal.
Emery was desaster but damage that MA will inflict will be more serious and more lasting.

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