Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles was reportedly a surprise transfer target for Barcelona this summer.
The versatile England international has impressed for Arsenal in recent times, becoming more of a key player under manager Mikel Arteta with big-game performances in important FA Cup wins over Manchester City and Chelsea last season.
Still, Maitland-Niles hasn’t always started regularly for the Gunners and it seems his future came into some doubt in the transfer window just gone.
According to Fabrizio Romano on his podcast, Maitland-Niles was targeted by Barcelona, but Arteta played a key role in keeping him at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal fans will be glad their manager was able to keep hold of this important player, who, at 23 years of age, could still improve and have a big career ahead of him.
Barcelona didn’t have the best summer in the end, but ended up signing Sergino Dest for that role in Ronald Koeman’s squad.
It would, however, have been interesting to see how a player like Maitland-Niles would have developed at a team like Barca.