Ainsley Maitland-Niles calls for talks over his Arsenal future
Arsenal have had some success in the past few years, with younger players making their first appearance. while guys like Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka are now considered key members of the first team squad.
There is a second tier of younger talent who are at an intermediate stage to be good Premier League players, but they don’t get enough chances to get started – Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles would be prime examples.
Willock was stellar on a loan from Newcastle United and should be given an opportunity next season while Ainsley Maitland-Niles has done well at West Brom too and it is understandable that he would not want to return to a replacement role he is only in start in the cups.
One of his biggest problems over the years has been his versatility, as he often puts in gaps to cover injuries rather than his own role on the team.
Opinions are divided as to whether he’s a midfielder or a full-back, but a report from The Telegraph watched an interview with him and it’s rare for a player to be so open and honest:
“I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can work with anyone I have to work with. Whether it’s to find a new club or to continue my training. I would like some indication of what is happening. Where they [Arsenal] see me If it works, it works; if it doesn’t, then say goodbye to Arsenal.
“It’s been a long way, but a proud one at that. Maybe there is something else they want to do and things could change. If not, there are always other teams. It would be easier to do now than wait for pre-season to start and everything is super busy. And they can’t answer their phones because it’s too much work. They know how the world of football works. “
In many ways, when you can’t do that at Arsenal, you have to admire your determination to advance your career to become a key player elsewhere, and it’s far more respectful than when a player enjoys sitting around and taking his wages.
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Realistically, it’s hard to imagine that his situation at Arsenal has changed so he is likely to be seen as a versatile substitute at this point and it suggests that he may have to push for an exit this summer.