As a supporter I have been quite disturbed by the widespread media ‘knowledge’ that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is allegedly one of the players Arteta is willing to sacrifice to fund his rebuild at Arsenal. The stories emerged a matter of days after the Spaniard had selected the player ahead of Saka or Kolasinac at left wing back in both the Semi-Final and Final of the FA Cup.
His coach has huge confidence in Maitland-Niles and has only asked for a better work ethic and consistency, both of which he has evidently got in spades. This being the case, despite the headlines saying ‘Arteta is willing sacrifice’ I think it is the club/board dictating here, as they are well aware of the premium fee the young Englishman might attract, whilst having secured Cedric as a back up to Bellerin. Arsenal at present, are simply not a club who can afford to have three players on the wage bill for ostensibly one position.
Maitland-Niles’s agents also represent Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, so you can understand why Arsenal are confident that the player would go for a lofty price. And if footie tipsters are to be believed most of the other London Premier League teams are interested – bearing in mind that as football tipsters reviews show: not all tips are equal.
The player is in capable hands and if he does leave, I am sure his agents will get him a cracking contract but I for one will be sad to see him go, it what I feel is an understandable yet short-sighted decision by Arsenal.
In no particular order here are my reasons for wanting Ainsley to stay a Gunner, some reasoned and some sentimental, but together they make a compelling case:
- The Player has been at Arsenal sine he was 6 and we all want our homegrown lads to succeed. Whilst Nelson, Saka and Willock may excite, AMN already has 100 senior games under his belt.
- His versatility is phenomenal and whilst the player himself seems to have waivered as to whether he wants to still fight for a central midfield berth or is happy to play and fullback or wing back, the fact he can perform all three roles is invaluable.
- Of the three contenders, due to his midfield origins, when we opt to play an inverted right back as we have early on under Arteta, AMN fulfils this role best.
- His pace and recovery are exceptional, and we have still to see if Bellerin will regain his previous levels.
- He has three years left on his current deal and there are several other players with shorter tenures on their current deals Arsenal could sell for similar money such as Torreira or Holding.
- I firmly believe Arteta would like to play 433 next season and he sees Thomas Partey (or that style of player) as a key component to those plans. The athletic, powerful, defensive midfielder is something we have lacked for years and I genuinely believe that Maitland- Niles is the closest in attributes we have in the current squad. If we accept that Arsenal fighting on several fronts, need two genuine contenders for each role, the young Englishman, is the best fit. Lucas Torreira was bought as a combative defensive midfielder but whilst he has the terrier like qualities, he lacks the physicality. I would much rather see the Uruguayan sold.
- Every top side needs a high-level utility player, such as Liverpool have had in Milner in recent seasons. For Arsenal I think instantly of Gilles Grimandi, winning 2 titles playing centre back right back and defensive midfield. AMN has the ability to be our modern-day Gilles and so much more and he might cast his mind back to a certain Invincible who converted from midfield to right back and became a club legend.
In short, I sincerely hope Arteta get his way, as I firmly believe he would keep Ainsley Maitland-Niles over so of the other candidates who might sell for reasonable money and indeed, some of whom are on considerably higher wages.
Passionate fifty-something Arsenal supporter who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since.
He set up his own site – 1 Nil Down 2 One Up – in February 2012, which he moved on in 2016 to concentrate on freelance writing and building Gunners Town, which he launched with Paul in 2014.
The objective of GT was to be new and fresh and to give a platform for likeminded passionate Arsenal fans wishing to write about their team. Dave still of course, writes for the site himself and advises the ever-changing writing crew.