According to the Athletic (subscription required), Ainsley Maitland-Niles has accepted that he will need to leave Arsenal in order nail down regular first-team football.
The Gunners academy product is contracted until the summer of 2023, but the 22-year-old believes that it’s time to move on from the north London outfit in the next transfer window.
Maitland-Niles has made 96 appearances for the Gunners since making his debut in 2014, in practically all of these the former England youth international has deputised at right-back.
The Athletic claim that the plan was for the versatile talent to discuss his future at the end of the season, but with the Gunners now out of the Champions League qualification race – Maitland-Niles wants a resolution sooner.
It’s added that there’s interest in the ace from England and also Germany. It’s hinted that Maitland-Niles taking this stance is due to the youngster sensing a ‘lack of trust’ from Mikel Arteta.
After featuring in the early stages of Arteta’s reign, there seems to have been a falling out of sorts which has limited Maitland-Niles to cameo appearances for the Gunners.
Maitland-Niles has made 28 first-team appearances this season, chipping in with two assists and a goal.
The ace’s natural position is central midfield, but Maitland-Niles has had very little chance to prove himself in this role and has since been leapfrogged by other options.
For the most part he’s proved to be a reliable makeshift option at right-back, he’s certainly at top-flight level and Arsenal will be able to net a decent fee for the youngster.
With an exit now seemingly set, it will be interesting to see where Maitland-Niles plays for his next club, or perhaps the ace will fashion a career as a solid utility man.