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Arsenal should keep Ainsley Maitland-Niles – the perfect multi-positional Utility Man

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As a supporter I have been quite disturbed by the widespread media ‘knowledge’ that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is allegedly one of the players Arteta is willing to sacrifice to fund his rebuild at Arsenal. The stories emerged a matter of days after the Spaniard had selected the player ahead of Saka or Kolasinac at left wing back in both the Semi-Final and Final of the FA Cup.

His coach has huge confidence in Maitland-Niles and has only asked for a better work ethic and consistency, both of which he has evidently got in spades. This being the case, despite the headlines saying ‘Arteta is willing sacrifice’ I think it is the club/board dictating here, as they are well aware of the premium fee the young Englishman might attract, whilst having secured Cedric as a back up to Bellerin. Arsenal at present, are simply not a club who can afford to have three players on the wage bill for ostensibly one position.

Maitland-Niles’s agents also represent Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, so you can understand why Arsenal are confident that the player would go for a lofty price. And if footie tipsters are to be believed most of the other London Premier League teams are interested – bearing in mind that as football tipsters reviews show: not all tips are equal.

The player is in capable hands and if he does leave, I am sure his agents will get him a cracking contract but I for one will be sad to see him go, it what I feel is an understandable yet short-sighted decision by Arsenal.

In no particular order here are my reasons for wanting Ainsley to stay a Gunner, some reasoned and some sentimental, but together they make a compelling case:

  • The Player has been at Arsenal sine he was 6 and we all want our homegrown lads to succeed. Whilst Nelson, Saka and Willock may excite, AMN already has 100 senior games under his belt.
  • His versatility is phenomenal and whilst the player himself seems to have waivered as to whether he wants to still fight for a central midfield berth or is happy to play and fullback or wing back, the fact he can perform all three roles is invaluable.
  • Of the three contenders, due to his midfield origins, when we opt to play an inverted right back as we have early on under Arteta, AMN fulfils this role best.
  • His pace and recovery are exceptional, and we have still to see if Bellerin will regain his previous levels.
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I’d prefer to see Torreira sold

  • He has three years left on his current deal and there are several other players with shorter tenures on their current deals Arsenal could sell for similar money such as Torreira or Holding.
  • I firmly believe Arteta would like to play 433 next season and he sees Thomas Partey (or that style of player) as a key component to those plans. The athletic, powerful, defensive midfielder is something we have lacked for years and I genuinely believe that Maitland- Niles is the closest in attributes we have in the current squad. If we accept that Arsenal fighting on several fronts, need two genuine contenders for each role, the young Englishman, is the best fit. Lucas Torreira was bought as a combative defensive midfielder but whilst he has the terrier like qualities, he lacks the physicality. I would much rather see the Uruguayan sold.
  • Every top side needs a high-level utility player, such as Liverpool have had in Milner in recent seasons. For Arsenal I think instantly of Gilles Grimandi, winning 2 titles playing centre back right back and defensive midfield. AMN has the ability to be our modern-day Gilles and so much more and he might cast his mind back to a certain Invincible who converted from midfield to right back and became a club legend.

In short, I sincerely hope Arteta get his way, as I firmly believe he would keep Ainsley Maitland-Niles over so of the other candidates who might sell for reasonable money and indeed, some of whom are on considerably higher wages.

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3 Responses to Arsenal should keep Ainsley Maitland-Niles – the perfect multi-positional Utility Man

  1. Victor Thompson August 17, 2020 at 12:11 pm #

    Dave, I am so pleased to read this article. I agree with every word and I have been writing comments to other publications on the same subject. I didn`t want us to sell Chamberlain and Klopp has seen what many others couldn`t., but selling AMN would be a much bigger mistake. towards the end of the league he made a huge improvement to his game. He was brilliant against Chelsea in the Cup Final and he looked every inch the type of player we should be looking for except that we already have him. he represents the modern adaptable player the best of whom can adequately fill many positions in time of need. We always seem to have a lengthy injury list and having AMN on board means we have a first class elastoplast to fill the gap caused by injuries.. All of the above reasons are surely an overwhelming argument for holding on to him. Willick,, Nketiah, Holding, Nelson, Torreira and Cedric have all been given opportunities to show what they are capable of and not one of them could be said to have the versatility that AMN has nor are they even as consistent in any given position. I would rather we sold one or more of this list.

    • Dave Seager August 17, 2020 at 12:58 pm #

      Cheers matey

    • Dave Huntley August 18, 2020 at 1:53 pm #

      Dave, whilst I would like Ainsley to stay he has somewhat bought this upon himself, throwing the toys out of the pram when not playing in his preferred position, let’s not forget he’s not the only one who’s had to do that whilst the club get itself sorted out, I could say he’s been badly advised but I’d like to give him the benefit of any doubt, maybe a little more thought before he starts running his mouth again.

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