Leicester City are reportedly plotting a move to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal before the transfer deadline on Monday.
According to a report by The Athletic, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has fresh admirers over the prospect of a late loan move in the ongoing transfer window. Leicester City have emerged in pursuit of the versatile Arsenal star, who is eager to secure regular game-time to boost his prospects for the UEFA European Championship.
Maitland-Niles has fallen down the pecking order since the appointment of Mikel Arteta as the Arsenal manager. The player’s biggest asset – his versatility – has also ended up being his bane, as he has not been able to prove his credentials for one position, where the more natural options have been considered.
Largely deployed as a full-back by Arteta, Maitland-Niles is behind the likes of Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Cedric Soares. With game-time coming at a premium as a result, it is hardly surprising that the 23-year-old is eager to secure a loan move away from Arsenal to come into contention for a place in the English national squad for the European Championship.
To that end, Maitland-Niles has been linked with a move to Southampton, while West Bromwich Albion have also expressed an interest in securing his services. Now, though, another Premier League club has emerged in pursuit of the youngster, and could provide the most appealing offer to Arsenal.
As per the reliable David Ornstein, Leicester are the only club to have included an option to buy in their offer to sign Maitland-Niles on loan ahead of the deadline on Monday, which could turn the tide in their favour. The interest from Leicester makes sense as well, considering Dennis Praet and Wilfred Ndidi are sidelined with injuries.
In addition, Hamza Choudhury is being heavily linked with a move to Newcastle, thereby creating the need for the former Premier League champions to bolster their midfield. While Maitland-Niles has largely been utilised as a full-back at Arsenal, he favours playing as a midfielder, which could see him prefer a switch to Leicester.
However, Arsenal would like for him to continue playing as a full-back, which keeps Southampton in contention for the 23-year-old as well. What will now be interesting to see is which way the scales tip, with Leicester and Southampton both in contention to sign Maitland-Niles on loan.