Sky Sports has recently claimed that Wolverhampton Wanderers have ended their pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer. It is believed that the Gunners want to retain the services of the English talent which would signify the end of Wolves’ interest in the player (via Sky Sports).
Maitland-Niles’ Recent Resurgence At The English Capital
The 23-year-old was Arsenal’s man of the match in the Community Shield final victory over Liverpool on Saturday. He has shown some promising signs of his maturity in pre-season thus far. Thus, Mikel Arteta might fancy his chances of getting the best out of the midfield player in the upcoming Premier League campaign.
Maitland-Niles has made a total of 101 appearances for the North London outfit, registering three goals and five assists across all competitions. The London-born midfielder did well to end the last campaign with an average of 1.9 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 1.4 clearances, 0.5 key passes and 0.8 dribbles per game in the English top-flight and the UEFA Europa League. He even took care of the ball when distributing possession from the centre of the park as he made 81.9% of his attempted passes in league football (stats via whoscored).
The Arsenal youth product is already an experienced campaigner at the highest level. His impressive display versus the Reds on Saturday should serve as proof that he deserves at least another season to prove his worth to Arteta and the club’s loyal fans.
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Maitland-Niles is versatile enough to play in multiple positions across the field. He has often been utilized as a left wing-back by Arteta recently. However, the English talent can also operate as a midfielder, right-back or as a winger down the right flank if required.
His incredible versatility, coupled with his desire to win possession back for his side, make him such a useful member of the Gunners squad. Maitland-Niles boasts decent pace and can make a few clever runs from midfield or defence. However, the English speedster is more renowned for his defensive prowess as he can provide adequate protection for his teammates at the back by pulling off some vital interceptions inside his half.
Missing Out On Maitland-Niles This Summer: Big Blow For Wolves?
There is no doubt that Arsenal’s change of stance regarding the talented midfielder’s future has served as a big blow for Wolves and their plans for the 2020-21 campaign. Nuno Espirito Santo would have benefitted a lot by acquiring someone of Maitland-Niles’s versatility. Plus, he could have even filled in as a replacement for Matt Doherty, who has sealed a move to Tottenham Hotspur this summer. It would not have been ideal, but atleast the Arsenal man would have been an option in that position.
Wolves will now have no choice but to move in and focus their attention on recruiting some of their other targets if they intend to have a strong squad capable of challenging for a European place next season.
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