Football is littered with examples of players who weren’t fancied by a team who eventually allowed them to leave for a small fee, and it always leads to the same question – why did they let them go?
The obvious answer is that they simply weren’t good enough at the time and a team didn’t see enough potential to stick by them, so it’s easy in hindsight to lambast clubs for certain decisions.
Arsenal faced that situation recently with Serge Gnabry who’s now a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich, and The Daily Mail have indicated that they could be making the same mistake if they let Ainsley Maitland-Niles go for about £20m.
It’s actually easy to argue that Arsenal made the right decision to let Gnabry go – he wasn’t playing often and he had a horrible time at West Brom, while he needed a few years with Werder Bremen and then Hoffenheim to develop and earn that move to Bayern.
READ MORE: Total U-turn from Mikel Arteta as he promises Arsenal outcast will get another chance with the team
Maitland-Niles is clearly a decent player, but the differences between him and Gnabry show that it’s probably not going to be the same situation.
Gnabry left after only 18 first team appearances at Arsenal while Maitland-Niles has now played 100 times for The Gunners, so it’s not like he hasn’t had enough chances to convince the club that he’s good enough.
You can argue that the current Arsenal man is actually too versatile for his own good, so it means he’s often used to patch up a side and it’s prevented him from developing and establishing himself in a certain role.
The only way the comparison with Gnabry will come true is if he goes somewhere else and really starts to excel in a specific role, but that’s a risk that Arsenal will need to weigh up.
Nobody really moaned about Gnabry leaving at the time and it’s unlikely too many fans will get angry if Maitland-Niles goes, so it’s another situation where only time will tell.
What do you think Arsenal should do with Maitland Niles? Let us know in the comments