According to The Sun, Tottenham are interested in Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The versatile player has been put up on sale by the Gunners, against Mikel Arteta’s wishes as the club believes they can earn up to £30 million from his sale. It has put Spurs on red alert, although they could face stiff competition from other London rivals in Fulham and Watford. Arsenal, meanwhile, may have to settle for only £20 million for the services of their prized asset.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: The ultimate utility player
A product of the Arsenal youth academy, Maitland-Niles initially started his professional career as a right-winger. However, after failing to compete for a place in the first-team, he was notably utilised as a right wing-back by Unai Emery during the 2018/19 campaign. And since then, the Englishman has, more or less, been considered as a defender.
Arteta took it to the next level by deploying Maitland-Niles at left wing-back during the restart period. Starting ahead of the likes of Bukayo Saka and Sead Kolasinac, the 22-year-old even impressed in his new role, partly thanks to his solid determination and work ethic. Indeed, he played a key role in the FA Cup wins over Manchester City and Chelsea, helping Arsenal lift the coveted trophy.
Aside from his work-rate, Maitland-Niles has also impressed the onlookers with his pace and an ability to march forward. It helps him provide offensive support to his teammates, which was evident in his first-half performance against Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Later in that game, the right-back showed tremendous determination to help his side preserve a slender one-goal lead.
How Maitland-Niles can aid Tottenham
With Tottenham Hotspur pretty much in turmoil, especially in the defensive department, Jose Mourinho needs to be crafty with his method of rebuilding the team this summer. Maitland-Niles, in that regard, should be an ideal option as the Portuguese mastermind looks to solve his problems at right-back.
Serge Aurier has been an ever-present figure in Mourinho’s plans this past season. But, the Ivorian has failed to show enough consistency or quality to replace Kieran Trippier properly. That is where Maitland-Niles could come in handy.
The Arsenal man can serve as an alternative to Aurier at right-back and right wing-back. Additionally, he can also provide back-up for Ben Davies, who is currently the only viable option on the opposite flank. It could, therefore, open up countless tactical possibilities for Mourinho, especially when it comes to rotating the squad.
However, what makes Maitland-Niles such an appealing target for Spurs is his rigid and dynamic playing style that should tune in well with the defence-oriented, counter-attacking system the club has embraced under the leadership of Mourinho. And for a fee of just £20 million, he will be no short of a bargain for the Lilywhites this summer.
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