Arsenal could brace themselves for a Tottenham raid for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who is reportedly tipped to leave Emirates this summer.
According to The Sun, Arsenal are tipped to offload Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer. The Gunners are keen on selling a host of their star players in order to gain some financial stability after the Coronavirus inflicted massive economic damage in the footballing scene in Europe. It has now apparently put Tottenham Hotspur on red alert, however.
Indeed, the Lilywhites are eyeing a shock move for Maitland-Niles, who could be sold against Mikel Arteta’s wishes. The Spaniard does like the versatile defender, having used him multiple times during the restart period. Tottenham, meanwhile, are joined by London rivals Watford and West Ham United in pursuit of the Arsenal star as well.
Arsenal are currently expecting a fee of £30 million but might have to settle for £20 million. It seems reasonable for a player who is yet to establish himself as a first-team regular at the Emirates despite the club’s best efforts in promoting their academy stars.
Maitland-Niles, however, did show a lot of quality for Arsenal during the final phase of the campaign. In particular, in the FA Cup matches against Manchester City and Chelsea, Arteta utilised him as a wing-back, ahead of the likes of Hector Bellerin, Bukayo Saka and Sead Kolasinac.
The 22-year-old showed exceptional spirit and played a critical role as Arsenal secured memorable wins over the two aforementioned sides, thereby helping his team win the FA Cup. And ahead of the new campaign, Mainland-Niles’s presence in the Arsenal team could open up a host of tactical possibilities for Arteta.
With Kolasinac struggling with injuries and Kieran Tierney shifting into a central defensive role, Maitland-Niles could provide cover in the left wing-back slot. It could ultimately provide the freedom for Saka to feature in a more attacking role while the Englishman can also compete with the likes of Bellerin and Cedric Soares on the right flank.
Such versatility is one of the key reasons why Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho is eyeing a move for the Arsenal star this summer. The Portuguese mastermind struggled to find a reliable option at right-back this past season, with Serge Aurier failing to offer solidity in the Tottenham backline in terms of his defensive game.
Maitland-Niles, in that regard, could provide incentive for the Ivorian to fight harder for a place in Spurs’ first-team. In addition, the 22-year-old’s departure could also significantly weaken Arsenal, meaning this could be a smart piece of business from Tottenham. What now remains to be seen is if Arsenal sanction his sale, or if they look to offload other players to fund their summer moves.