Thursday, September 29, 2022

Arsenal’s Versatile Star Facing An Uncertain Future At The Club: Should Arteta Cash In On Him?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Mirror, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is facing an uncertain future at Arsenal. The versatile midfielder has attracted a host of interest across England and Europe following his impressive loan spell at West Brom. He is set to return to Emirates in the summer, but manager Mikel Arteta is yet to make a decision on his future.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ Loan Spell At West Brom

Maitland-Niles joined West Brom in January on a short-term loan deal. He left Arsenal in search of regular game-time, after falling behind the pecking order under Arteta.

The Englishman has since enjoyed a decent time at the Hawthorns, becoming a first-team regular under Sam Allardyce. He has built a solid midfield partnership alongside Sam Gallagher and fellow new signing Okay Yokuslu, helping the Baggies make a steady recovery after a turbulent period under the previous manager Slaven Bilic.

Maitland-Niles has offered the dynamism West Brom were desperately needing in midfield. In addition, the 23-year-old has shown excellent discipline, which is hardly surprisingly under Allardyce’s defensive astute tactical setup.

In fact, West Brom have only lost three games since Maitland-Niles’ arrival at the club and have an excellent chance of escaping relegation, especially after securing back to back wins in their last two matches.

Maitland-Niles is facing an uncertain future at Arsenal - He has found success at West Brom.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles of West Bromwich Albion during the Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: 3rd April 2021. Picture credit should read: David Klein/Sportimage PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK SPI-0985-0063

Should Arsenal Cash In On Maitland-Niles?

The upcoming summer transfer window is extremely crucial for Arsenal, especially with recent talks of a European Super League fuelling more uncertainty in the coming months. From a sporting perspective, however, the Gunners could certainly use someone like Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the upcoming season.

The Englishman’s success at West Brom is indicative of his becoming a potential utility player for Mikel Arteta. Especially in the midfield unit, the 23-year-old could be extremely useful, in light of Dani Ceballos’ expiring loan contract and Mohamed Elneny’s uncertain future at the club. He could thus serve as an ideal backup for the midfield duo of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey.

Alternatively, Maitland-Niles can be a useful alternative for the injury-prone Kieran Tierney at left-back while the midfielder can also operate higher up the pitch if required. It could ultimately open up endless tactical possibilities for Arteta next season.

However, it remains to be seen whether the player himself is keen on prolonging his stay at Emirates, knowing Arsenal will not be able to offer him regular game-time. In fact, Maitland-Niles could end up becoming the club’s primary alternative in all the areas he can operate at – rather than a shoo-in into the first-team.

As such, it won’t be surprising to see the Gunners ultimately cashing in on their academy talent this summer, in an attempt to fund a move for their top targets in the market.

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