Ainsley Maitland-Niles spoke to The Mirror today about his future at Arsenal beyond the end of this summer’s transfer window.
The versatile Englishman forced his way out on loan to West Bromwich Albion in January. He wanted to show Mikel Arteta and the world that his best position is in the middle of the park, and he got an opportunity to do that at the Hawthorns.
Sadly, he couldn’t quite prove his doubters wrong. He was brilliant in flashes, but he was mostly average, much like most of his West Brom teammates.
Maitland-Niles will return to Arsenal after his holiday and a lot will have to be discussed. He has revealed today that he is hoping for clarity from Arteta about his role in the squad, and a decision on his future will only be made after talks with the Gunners boss.
He said: “I’ve got two years left on my contract so I’m due to be going back there. Obviously once I do go back, I need to speak to the manager and see where he sees me, see what ideas he has and we can move on from there.
“But I hope I can get some clarity for me, as in the player that he sees me, the role he sees me in and we can take it from there. The main thing that’s needed is clarity. You need clarity for both parties or however many parties are involved, you just need clarity.
“Once that stuff is worked out, everything else will follow from there.”
Should Arsenal keep Maitland-Niles?
The Englishman’s future is really down to himself at this point.
It is absolutely clear that Arteta does not see Maitland-Niles as a central midfielder. He wants the 23-year-old to play as a full-back, and the only way the versatile Hale End graduate can stay at the Emirates is if he agrees with the Gunners boss.
If Maitland-Niles is still adamant that he wants to play in midfield and nowhere else, he’ll be shown the door. However, if he agrees to play a less prominent role at full-back, he could be a really useful player for Arsenal next season, especially with Hector Bellerin leaving.