Is Maitland-Niles really the next Gnabry? – Common Sense on the AMN Sell or Keep Debate

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, keep or sell?

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Sell or keep?

The versatile product of Hale End is rumored to be a target for Wolves, with Nuno Espírito Santo wanting to replace the departing Matt Doherty with our player.

While for the Club the only issue seems to be price, for the supporters the sale itself is the problem: many seem to rate him very highly, some even above Héctor Bellerín, and simply don’t want to see him gone.

I understand why some would like him to stay and surely he has some potential but would he be a starter? Would he take us to the very top? I don’t think so.


A Player to take us to the top again?

There was a time when our best players were coveted by the biggest Clubs, while now we have Wolves playing low-ball for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Newcastle inquiring for a loan deal involving Rob Holding, Fulham rumored to be interested by Calum Chambers and Serie A mid-table Clubs asking about the availability of Lucas Torreira. This might have something to do with the current market and financial difficulties but the lack of money isn’t the issue: the lack of quality within our squad is.

Then Future Arsenal Stars and now linked with mid table sales

It’s great to see players coming through the ranks and make it to the first team but let’s be honest, how many of them really are up to the standards that we expect?

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, like Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, provided excellent cover and surely had his moments – especially in the FA Cup semi-final and final – but we’re not talking about one of the best young players in England, let alone in Europe, or someone who could go down in our history books. The best contribution to our fortunes he could aspire to is to become one of the valuable assets sold for profit, re-invested in better players.

It’s always easy to reflect in hindsight but we hang on so many average players, for years, and never had the courage to sell them when the timing was right: we are constantly reminded about how we lost Serge Gnabry for only £ 7m but none mention how we lost Jack Wilshere for free, Aaron Ramsey for free, Joel Campbell for £ 1m, Chuba Akpom for £ 1m, Nicklas Bendtner for nothing, Lukasz Fabianski for nothing, Denílson for nothing, Johan Djourou for £ 2m, Emmanuel Eboué for £ 3m.


Is AMN a Serge Gnabry or a Joel Campbell?

For every Serge Gnabry there are nine players we didn’t make enough profit with, or any at all.

For every Serge Gnabry there are nine players we should have sold earlier and whose departure wouldn’t have had any impact on our fortunes – but we weren’t ruthless enough.

Things seemed to have changed, recently, with the high-profile sales of Alex Iwobi to Everton and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool and it’s time to keep walking down that line, whenever a decent offer comes in.

The money on offer for Ainsley Maitland-Niles is considered not enough but what if we sold Jack Wilshere for £ 20m, when he still had some appeal? Surely there would have been questions and anger but let’s face it, beside being “one of our own”, Jack Wilshere was an injury-prone player with attitude problems, so getting £ 20m would have been a good deal.


He may become one of he best wingbacks in the league or he may not

To quote Arsène Wenger, “everyone believes that he has the prettiest wife at home” but Ainsley Maitland-Niles is as inconsistent as he is versatile, so where do we draw the line?

He might end up being one of the best wing-backs in the league OR he might keep being the inconsistent player he’s been so far; we might end up regretting him like we do for Serge Gnabry or we might look at this transfer, in hindsight, and realize how we outsmarted the market – to use a very popular term.



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12 Responses to Is Maitland-Niles really the next Gnabry? – Common Sense on the AMN Sell or Keep Debate

  1. Davi August 27, 2020 at 11:00 am #

    The feeling I get is that we have been seeing a young player on the rise, it has just taken a while for things to click into place; learning to play the position etc. He’s given top performances against the best teams in the division (Chelsea, Liverpool, utd, city and wolves) and shown he has a far greater ability to handle dribblers than anyone else in the squad (see him being brought on to shut down Adama Traore).
    He’s not going to be as good as Gnabry as I think he is a potential top 5 in the world, but he definitely has the potential to be someone who could play at Gnabry’s level (ie for a team as good as Bayern), or close, which I can’t see for too many others at Arsenal.
    Selling him now would be a big mistake imo, we have other saleable assets like Bellerin (similar case to Wilshire except could actually bring in money), so I don’t see the point in sacrificing one of the young players with very high potential before he’s even had a proper crack. Should be our starting RB imo.

    • AndreaR August 27, 2020 at 11:48 am #

      Fair enough, Davi. He might well end up being one of the best RB/WB in the world, personally I don’t think he will but I see your point.
      If we are to sell Bellerín, surely AMN cannot go

  2. Stanley simons August 27, 2020 at 11:03 am #

    I think amn has a future at arsenal.he has improved,and will get better.I am more sure of him than of willock.he has not impressed me at all

  3. Pliv August 27, 2020 at 11:27 am #

    We are selling a young player with potential and has improved under arteta. All these links with partey , yet we havent given him a chance in his preferred role. However he said before the season ended he was happy to play wherever

    Arsenal are still a joke – we cant shift the mediocrity – mustafi, sokratis , kolasinac and then players like guendozhi, chambers and torriera

    So they are turning to sell a player come through the ranks – . This isnt a calculated sale as if we sell him for 20 million, greenwood for 3 and balogun for 8 – that’s like 31 million. If all three progress and when they move on again they will be minimum 35 million pound players each.

    Isnt it better to take a hit on the mediocrity and remove them ?

    We are selling niles to wolves who have been better than us for 2 years . The last game niles marked out a player all the top clubs struggled to contain, yet we wish to make them stronger. With their manager who has improved his players he will get the best out of niles as he did with traore who everyone said he had no end product

    We failed to exercise out right to buy back bennacer . Who is now valued at 45 million a player that arteta could do with. Emery sold adelaide as he said he didnt need any more wingers , yet took Denis suarez on loan to play across the midfield . Adelaide moved to angers and then last summer a 30 million move to lyon. He made a subs appearance in the recent final against bayern

    Arsenal do not realise the talent they are allowing to leave

    • AndreaR August 27, 2020 at 11:52 am #

      Thanks for your comment Pliv. Indeed, there are many other players who should be moved on but I don’t see it as a either/or situation: Kola, Sokratis and others should be sold but so should Ainsley Maitland-Niles (or some other youngsters). We did bad, very bad in the past, but I don’t believe Bennacer or JRA would make much of a difference, now – surely we should have taken more money for both

  4. Ben August 27, 2020 at 11:38 am #

    nice article and i agree, AMN is a useful player but realistically how many games is he going to play next season..?
    If the transfer market goes as its looking for us then he will be lucky to be 3rd choice for any position he can play.

    Hopefully we can get £20 million for him and re-invest that towards a player that is either first 11 or at least pushing for it.

    • AndreaR August 27, 2020 at 11:53 am #

      Thanks for your comment Ben, the tricky part will be to re-invest the money well. We cannot afford to lose AMN and waste the money

      • Ben August 27, 2020 at 2:07 pm #

        Yep, agreed. For me it has got to be a solid CM like Partey (assuming we get Gabriel)

  5. Comfort Manyatsi August 27, 2020 at 11:39 am #

    Maitland-Niles has never been given a fair opportunity to showcase his talent. He is always put in acquard positions in recent games. He has never been given the opportunity to play in the middle yet you guys are now talking about inconsistency. In those acquard positions he has been shining. In fact I rate that boy higher than Saka or Bellerin, because he is a no nonsense in what he does. The manager should give the boy a chance. He should pair him with Guendouzi in the middle in one of the good games and see what will they produce. That boy should not be sold. He is good in marking as well as going forward.

  6. Ausgooner August 27, 2020 at 11:49 am #

    Totally Agree Andrea. We seem to also forget that players like Gnabry may not have become the player he is now had he stayed. I personally don’t think AMN is top class but do agree he can do a job if all we are going to get is a few bucks. We currently have several players that can be used to generate the funds needed for transfers. What I do know is regardless of who is playing, the fans need to be behind the players rather than on their backs all the time. The best players in the world would not be able to play at their best when met with some of the crap being hurled at our back line last year. Get behind the team or shut it. COYG

    • AndreaR August 27, 2020 at 11:55 am #

      Appreciated, Ausgooner. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is in demand at the moment, while other players such as Sokratis, Musti, Holding, Chambers and many others don’t see to be – unfortunately

  7. Victor Thompson August 27, 2020 at 11:52 pm #

    Andrea, you make a lot of points here and you have managed to stir up a pretty busy response, most of which is in support of Maitland Niles. I am at one with the comment by Pliv. Some of your points are self answering such as the reason for Chambers interest to Fulham. He was with them on loan and was voted their player of the year. From the AMN support group :- It is hard to take a chance and play a person who is apparently being shovelled out of Arsenal in the hope that he may bring enough to obtain Partey. We all agree that Arteta is miles ahead of Emery and he foresaw the possibility that we would ( not could ) win the Euro Championship.]. thus producing European football for next season. In doing so, AMN played against Wolves, Chelsea and Man City. He bottled up Wolves hit man and played Sterling out of the game. what other right back could have done that? I just cannot believe that Arteta would have taken those risks if he thought AMN was a weak link. One doesn`t play your worst player against the opposition`s best player and frankly, I believe he played him because he knew he had a good player on his hands. I think it was a cold blooded decision to try to get Kroenke to hesitate in selling him. Common sense would tell you that in the short time Arteta has managed Arsenal AMN has improved immensely in his performances and in his consistency. What will he be like if he has another year to coach him?

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