Ainsley Maitland-Niles wants clarity from Arsenal on his future, admitting he’s ready to leave if that’s their decision for him.
After completing his loan spell to West Bromwich Albion, Ainsley Maitland-Niles is preparing to return to parent club Arsenal at the end of the month, but he has little certainty over what’s next.
The 23-year-old reportedly hasn’t yet spoken with anyone in the Arsenal hierarchy, and he’s pushing for the club to let him know what they plan to do with him sooner rather than later.
“If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way,” Maitland-Niles said. “They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me.
“I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure.
“I would like some kind of indication of what is happening. Where they [Arsenal] see me. If it works out, it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye.
“It’s been a long journey but a proud one at that. Maybe they still want to do something and things could change. If not, there’s always other teams.”
You can understand why Maitland-Niles just wants a decision at this point, regardless of what that decision actually is. It’s almost seven years since he broke into the Arsenal first team, but there’s still no certainty over whether he can be a starter next season.
The academy graduate also got his first taste of the England first team this season, only to miss out on the squad for the European Championships. It must be frustrating to be on the fringes for both club and country.
The problem at Arsenal is they’ve just never seemed keen to use him as a midfielder, and there’s a lot of competition at right-back – a position Maitland-Niles doesn’t seem to want to play if given the choice.
Perhaps Mikel Arteta has a plan to resolve that issue, but if not, you’d expect Maitland-Niles to be on the way out this summer. Crystal Palace are reportedly among those interested if that’s the case.