ESPN have claimed that Everton are planning a January move to sign Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The Toffees were heavily linked with a move for the Englishman in the final few days of the summer window. Maitland-Niles made it clear to everyone that he wanted to leave, but Mikel Arteta blocked his move, and he stayed at Arsenal.
The Gunners boss has reportedly promised the 24-year-old that he is a part of his plans. However, Everton are set to test Arsenal’s resolve in January with a much better offer than what they put on the table recently.
Everton planning a permanent move for Maitland-Niles
A day before the transfer deadline, Rafa Benitez’s side proposed a loan deal with an option to buy Maitland-Niles at the end of this season. Arsenal weren’t convinced at all and that offer was rejected.
The report from ESPN now claims that Everton are planning a permanent move in January. They are expected to come in with a decent offer to test Arsenal’s resolve, which could well work considering that the Englishman will only have 18 months left on his contract then.
Arteta managed to convince Maitland-Niles to stay at Arsenal in the summer. The versatile 24-year-old reluctantly agreed, but he could force a move out again in January if he doesn’t get enough game time in the coming months.
The Insider’s View:
It really did look like Arsenal were ready to sell Maitland-Niles if a good offer came in. The circumstances changed towards the end of the window and Arteta decided that keeping hold of him would be the best option.
If Maitland-Niles doesn’t play enough in the coming months, he will surely want to leave again. Everton seem like they are ready to pounce, but it’s really unlikely that Arsenal will let him leave in January.
The Gunners are set to lose both Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny for a few weeks due to AFCON. That will leave us extremely short of options in the middle of the park, which could then make Maitland-Niles a very important player for us. That should rule out a move in January.