Brighton & Hove Albion have spotted beleaguered Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles as a prospective target for next season.
According to a report published by The Sun, versatile Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles has come up as a target for Brighton & Hove Albion.
Maitland-Niles came through Arsenal’s academy and went out on loan to Ipswich Town in 2015, before being promoted to the London outfit’s first team in 2017 under Arsene Wenger. Despite being naturally right footed, the Englishman was mostly played in the left back role that season.
He has never been a important part of the Arsenal team, but has served as an able deputy in a variety of positions including central midfield, defence and when need has come to call, even as a winger.
However, since appointment of Mikel Arteta, Mainland-Niles has been relatively out of favour and has been dropped to as a third choice right-back with Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares, whose transfer was made permanent, getting the nod over him.
Arteta recently spoke about Maitland-Niles’ future, but gave a far-from-definitive answer. “He has every quality that you need to be a football player to play the highest level. And he just needs to do it in a little bit more of a consistent way, but he is someone who can adapt to any position as well,” he said.
This development has attracted the interest of Brighton who are guaranteed a place in the Premier League next season. The right-back spot for the Seagulls has been taken over by Tariq Lamptey, who joined the club in the winter transfer window this year. He has only one assist to his name so far, but has given a lot to Brighton fans to be hopeful about.
That said, Martin Montoya does not make for a worthy back-up to Lamptey, especially if the club wants to push for a less-risky season. Maitland-Niles could also be pushed to play in the left back position, currently where Dan Burn operates. Burn is a rather conservative player, though, and does better in defence than in attack.
Graham Potter has already established the kind of attacking football he wants his club to play and securing the services of Maitland-Niles could be a huge step in that direction. The 22-year-old still has three years left on his contract with the Gunners. And it remains to be seen if they decide to cash in on the Englishman come summer.