Everton are reportedly interested in versatile midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles and hopes to sign him on loan from Arsenal before the transfer deadline.
According to the reports in Sky Sports, Everton are keen on bringing Arsenal outcast Ainsley Maitland-Niles and have placed a loan bid to bring the former England International to the Goodison Park. The Toffees want a fullback desperately and are scouring the market for reinforcements at the right-back position, and Arsenal are willing to allow Maitland-Niles to depart during this transfer window.
Earlier this month, Leicester were rumoured to be the destination for Maitland-Niles, as Arteta was said to be willing to use him as a makeweight in a deal to lure the playmaker James Maddison to North London. But with that move now firmly put on the dead-end, the Englishman is back available in the market.
The 23-year-old looked well-established under Arteta to become Gunners’ right-back for the long-term this stage last year, but his penchant for playing in midfield saw him fall to the squad’s periphery. He spent the latter part of the season out on loan with West Bromwich Albion, who were relegated to the second division, but he impressed with his defensive output and tenacity.
He returned to Emirates this summer but has barely featured for Arsenal so far. He was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s first two top-flight games. The midfielder did come as a substitute and assisted in the 6-0 Carabao Cup triumph over his former club West Brom in midweek.
He progressed through the Arsenal youth system as a midfielder, playing both in the centre and out on the wing. He was later converted to an inverted fullback due to an emergency. He’s very determined to play in the midfield; he only joined the Hawthorns last year because they were offering him a midfield role.
Maitland-Niles prefers to play in midfield, but his pace and dribbling ability makes him apt to operate in the fullback position, which has prompted managers to utilize him there. The Englishman is capable of participating on both ends of the field, which is drawing suitors.
It has been claimed that a number of top-flight clubs, notably Southampton, Leicester City and Burnley, have all expressed their interest in Maitland-Niles but none has proposed an official proposal yet.
Maitland-Niles is a young, dynamic, and versatile player who is a perfect fit for the profile Rafa Benitez and Marcel Brands are looking for. However, the Toffees already have a well-stocked central midfield roster with Jean-Philippe Gbamin, Davies, Allan, Andre Gomes, Abdoulaye Doucoure, and Fabian Delph all available at Rafa Benitez’ disposal; it’s unlikely they will need another central midfielder.
They may need some backup in wide areas, especially at right-back where they are extremely thin, with Seamus Coleman the only recognized right-back, but that certainly would not suit the player. Time will tell whether or not Everton may be able to convince the Gunners’ academy product or will move for other targets like Odsonne Edouard of Celtic.