The 23-year-old has just completed a loan spell at West Brom and does not know if he’ll feature in Mikel Arteta’s plans for the 2021-22 season
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has insisted he’s ready to “kiss Arsenal goodbye” if he is not given assurances over regular playing time.
Maitland-Niles rose through the youth ranks at Emirates Stadium before graduating to the senior squad in 2014, and has since appeared in 121 games for the Gunners.
However, the decision was taken to send the 23-year-old out on loan to West Brom in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign after he fell out of favour under Mikel Arteta, and he is now open to leaving the club on a permanent basis.
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What’s been said?
Maitland-Niles told The Telegraph of his situation: “If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way.
“They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me. I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure.
“I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can get to work with whoever I need to get to work with.
“Whether that is finding a new club or whether that is carrying on with my training. I would like some kind of indication of what is happening. Where they (Arsenal) see me.
“If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye. It’s been a long journey but a proud one at that.
“Maybe they still want to do something and things could change. If not, there’s always other teams.”
How did Maitland-Niles perform for West Brom?
Maitland-Niles played 15 Premier League games for West Brom under Sam Allardyce, four more than he managed at Arsenal in the first half of the season.
He has been deployed primarily as a right-back with the Gunners in recent years, but played in a more natural central midfield role for the Baggies and stood out with his performances despite their relegation to the Championship.
The bigger picture
Maitland-Niles still has two years left to run on his contract at the Emirates, but it has been reported that Arsenal could let him go if they receive an offer within the region of £20 million ($28m) this summer.
Manchester United have been among those linked with the versatile Englishman in recent times, while a potential move abroad has also been mooted.
There could also still be an opportunity for Maitland-Niles to win back his place in Arteta’s set-up, with Real Betis having held talks over the signing of Hector Bellerin.
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