Brighton are tracking Ainsley Maitland-Niles for a potential summer transfer, with the Arsenal academy graduate open to a departure.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Kyle Walker of Manchester City and Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal battle for the ball during the FA Cup Semi Final match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on July 18, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Justin Tallis/Pool via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Kyle Walker and Ainsley Maitland-Niles battle for the ball on July 18, 2020. (Photo by Justin Tallis/Pool via Getty Images)

The Evening Standard report that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is attracting interest from Brighton ahead of the summer transfer window. They’re tracking him for a potential move, amid the reports of a potential Arsenal exit.

The Athletic’s David Ornstein recently reported that Maitland-Niles feels he needs to leave the club this summer to achieve regular first-team football.

Whilst you can understand that point of view – as he’s hardly a nailed-on starter – the decision isn’t entirely in the player’s hands. He still has three years on his contract, at 22 years old. Arsenal would need to receive a substantial bid to convince them to sell.

Then there’s the fact that Mikel Arteta reintroduced Maitland-Niles to the starting lineup after Ornstein’s exclusive. The academy graduate started on the left against Manchester City in the recent 2-0 win.

Even if Maitland-Niles is considering a move, he clearly isn’t burning his bridges yet. The likes of Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Özil can’t even get in the squad, so Arteta clearly doesn’t shy away from making those kinds of calls. But that’s not the case with Maitland-Niles.

All this to say, if Brighton really do hold an interest in the Arsenal man, they shouldn’t expect him to leave for nothing.