Former Arsenal starlet Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set for a move abroad, with the free agent about to join Olympique Lyon.
That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, who has confirmed that the 25-year-old will depart England in search of a fresh start.
Maitland-Niles came through the Arsenal academy but was released earlier this summer after spending last season on loan at Southampton.
The versatile England international made 132 appearances for Arsenal, but never found consistency at the Emirates or in his recent loan spells at West Brom, Roma and Southampton.
Romano has now confirmed that Maitland-Niles is set to sign a four-year deal with the French club, where he will be reunited with former Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette.
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Where did it go wrong for Maitland-Niles at Arsenal?
In September 2020, everything appeared to be going well for the youngster at Arsenal. He had started in both the FA Cup and Community Shield victories at Wembley, signed a long-term contract and received his first England call-up.
This all came after an impressive run of form as an inverted left wing-back, but his desire to change position started his downfall.
Despite impressing in the role, he wanted to play in the centre, and after Mikel Arteta changed to a back four, he struggled for game time before going on loan in January 2021, just months after his manager described him as a “huge talent,” following his excellent form.
He never made the grade as a central midfielder both in his loans and back at Arsenal. His form as a full-back or wing-back on both sides gave him a chance at success for club and country, and there may be a sense of regret on all sides that it did not work out with him like other academy graduates Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.