Wolverhampton Wanderers are closing in on the signing of out-of-favour Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
According to a report published by The Sun, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has emerged on the radar for Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are close to signing him in this summer window.
Maitland-Niles came through Arsenal’s academy and went out on loan to Ipswich Town in 2015 before being promoted to the 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 since failed to become an important part of the Arsenal team, but has served as an able deputy in a variety of positions including central midfield, defence and when needed, even as a winger.
However, since the appointment of Mikel Arteta, Mainland-Niles has been relatively out of favour and has been become a third choice right-back behind Hector Bellerin and Cedric Soares, whose transfer was made permanent.
The 22-year-old was an important part of Arsenal’s FA Cup season, playing across midfield in various roles, including right wing-back, left wing-back, and even central midfield. He was even given the responsibility of the left wing over Kieran Tierney in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, which the Gunners won 2-1 courtesy of a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
His versatility has caught the eye of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ boss Nuno Espirito Santo, who wants to bring the youngster in to add depth to his midfield. The Portuguese manager realises Maitland-Niles’ biggest strength is his ability to play equally well in any role given to him, and wants to make the best use of that.
This realisation may have come after Jonny was stretchered out in the game against Olympiacos in the Quarter-finals. While Ruben Vinagre is an able deputy, he does not quite give Wolves the same attacking firepower as his senior, who has been ruled out for the entirety of 2020.
Wolves are confident that they can push through a £20 million move before September 1, when they return to training. That said, Wolves might have to lock horns against Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion, both of whom were linked to Ainsley Maitlan-Niles in the recent past.