David Ornstein reported today in The Athletic that Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be leaning towards an exit from Arsenal this summer. He believes that he needs regular first team football to continue developing and doesn’t believe Mikel Arteta can provide that next season. He’s right.
Ornstein notes, “...Maitland-Niles senses a lack of trust in him from Arteta and he would welcome the chance to explore a fresh opportunity away from his boyhood club, with interest coming from England and Germany.”
Looking at the current depth chart, where does AMN fit in? Over the past two seasons he’s functioned as the emergency right-back while Hector Bellerin was out injured. Now with Bellerin & Cedric Soares, AMN is third in line. Meanwhile, if the club keeps Callum Chambers he can function as a last resort third-option RB, or Zak Swanson from the U23s.
Midfield? Arteta currently has Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Joe Willock, Mattéo Guendouzi (who looks like he could be another exiting player), and rumors of another loan or full deal for Dani Ceballos. Considering most think Arteta needs to bring in one or two more midfielders this summer, players have to move on, and Maitland-Niles has never been given the chance to show he is the player we need in the midfield.