In a recent tweet, BBC Sport’s Simon Stone reported that Leicester City are locked in a three-way battle for Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer. It has been revealed that the Foxes could face competition in the form of Southampton and Burnley in the race to land the English midfield ace during this summer transfer window.
Leicester, Southampton and Burnley all interested in @Arsenal Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) July 21, 2021
Maitland-Niles’ Solid Loan Spell At The Hawthorns
Maitland-Niles experienced a challenging loan spell at West Bromwich Albion in the second half of last season. The 23-year-old did well to put a few solid displays for the Baggies but it was not enough for them to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
The London-born talent made 15 appearances for the Hawthorns-based outfit in the previous campaign but failed to score or assist a goal for them in league football. However, Maitland-Niles caught the eye by averaging 1.5 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 1.4 clearances, 0.7 shots and 1.1 dribbles per 90 minutes in Premier League football. He even distributed possession relatively well from midfield after completing 77.6% of his attempted passes in the top tier of English football (stats via whoscored).
Maitland-Niles’ current contract with Arsenal is set to expire in the summer of 2023, but it makes more sense for the player to switch clubs this summer in search of more playing minutes in the coming seasons. He still has the potential to become a more prominent feature in top-flight, so the Foxes will do well to win the chase for his signature.
Should The Foxes Snap Maitland-Niles Up This Summer?
Maitland-Niles is a tough-tackling midfielder who can time his tackles well to earn the ball back at the centre of the park. He doesn’t take too many chances with his clearances and can even make a few energetic runs with the ball towards the opponent’s penalty box. However, the English sensational hardly scored any goals and is in dire need of being more creative with his passing in the final third.
Even then, the Foxes should consider engineering a move to snap Maitland-Niles up during this summer transfer window. He has what it takes to become a regular starter at the King Power Stadium and could grow into a top talent under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers over the next few seasons.
Maitland-Niles can compete with Boubakary Soumaré, Dennis Praet and Nampalys Mendy for a regular spot in the Leicester City starting XI. He could help the East Midlands outfit secure a major trophy and also compete for a top-four spot in the Premier League in the years to come. Hence, we can expect the Arsenal outcast to be a shrewd signing for the Foxes in this summer transfer period if Rodgers can pull it off.