Top Four Side Chasing Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Arteta’s side are not overly keen on Maitland-Niles making the move to the Hawthorns. Rightly so. All the concerns they have are justified.
Where he is in his career, ignoring the style of Allardyce’s team, which is also a factor, it’s a damaging move mentally for the player having reached the highs of earning his first senior England cap as recently as September.
Stuck in a rut and in woeful shape, going from a revitalised Arsenal to a relegation-doomed club under new management will do more harm than good. It’s not an ideal situation to be thrust into for any player, let alone one who was convinced to stay in north London and shun outside interest.
Of course, he needs minutes and those haven’t been forthcoming under Arteta this season. Much of that rests on his shoulders as the opportunities he’s been granted haven’t been grasped appropriately. A certain degree of slack is cut given the variety of positions he’s played in: this season alone he’s played on either wing, in both full-back slots and in central midfield.
There could be another option for him this month, as a ‘current top four’ side have registered interest of their own, which Arsenal are said to be more keen on.
No word of who that is, the current top four are Manchester City, Manchester United, Leicester and Liverpool. Of the quartet, the Foxes appear the likeliest option. Wilfred Ndidi suffered a minor hamstring problem in central midfield, while both their full-backs have been near ever presents this season.
None of the four sides would offer regular playing time, so there could be a possibility the club in question is West Ham, who but recently occupied a place in the top four.
It’s tricky. How ambitious are Arsenal this season? What do they realistically believe they can achieve? Say it is West Ham, then you’re directly aiding a side who are rivals for a European berth. The Hammers have been so impressive this season that it would be foolishly premature to rule them out of the running.
If it was Manchester City, then why not? The league title isn’t up for grabs. Even more recently, it has emerged that Southampton have inquired about his availability – Bertrand not involved in the discussions – but that coughs up similar issues as with a top four side.
With the window coming to an end 11PM on Monday, there are discussions aplenty to be had.