According to Daily Mail, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is being courted by Leeds United, as the Arsenal midfielder, on loan at West Brom, hopes to take the next step in his career. The Whites, however, are tipped to face stiff competition from Manchester United and Everton in the pursuit of the Englishman, who has made a solid impression at Hawthorns this season.
What Can Ainsley Maitland-Niles Bring To The Table?
A product of the Arsenal youth academy, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is usually described as a utility player, as he can play in numerous positions including right-wing, right-back, left-back, central midfield and even attacking midfield.
The 23-year-old initially started out his professional career as a right-winger. However, he was turned into a right wing-back by Unai Emery due to the shortage of options in the position, especially in light of Hector Bellerin’s injury problems.
Under Mikel Arteta, however, Maitland-Niles mostly played a defensive role, thus honing his skills in terms of defending and positioning. Aside from his versatility, though, the Englishman is also known for his aggression and speed that has helped him thrive at West Brom, alongside Conor Gallagher – another Leeds United target.
Additionally, Maitland-Niles has earned a lot of experience at the highest level of football, with over 120 competitive appearances for Arsenal while also winning five caps for the English National Team – making him a sought-after commodity in the transfer market this summer.
How Does He Fit In At Leeds United?
Ainsley Maitland-Niles should be a sensible acquisition for Leeds United next season. The Whites are already in desperate need of reinforcements in the midfield department, as they have indeed struggled without the presence of Kalvin Phillips.
Although Maitland-Niles is quite different to Phillips in terms of style of play, having shone during his loan spell at West Brom, he can offer competition in midfield, particularly to the likes of Mateusz Klich, Jamie Shackleton and even the in-form Stuart Dallas.
Alternatively, the Englishman can be utilised as a back-up not only for Luke Ayling at right-back but also on the opposite flank, for Ezgjan Alioski, whose contract at Elland Road expires at the end of the season.
Boasting pace, dynamism and aggression, the 23-year-old is equipped with ideal qualities that should definitely help him thrive under the tactical philosophy of Bielsa. Maitland-Niles, therefore, could be an ideal addition for Leeds United this summer, although the Yorkshire giants will need to be swift in their approach, amid interest from other clubs, including Manchester United.