I HAVE been quite disturbed by the claims that Ainsley Maitland-Niles is allegedly one of the players Arteta is willing to sacrifice to fund his rebuild at Arsenal.
The stories emerged a matter of days after the Spaniard had selected the player ahead of Bukayo Saka or Sead Kolasinac at left wing back in both the semi-final and final of the FA Cup.
His coach has huge confidence in Maitland-Niles and has only asked for a better work ethic and consistency, both of which he has evidently got in spades.
Despite the headlines of Arteta is willing to ‘sacrifice’ I think it is the club/board dictating here.
They are well aware of the premium fee the young Englishman might attract, while having secured Cedric as a back up to Bellerin.
Arsenal at present, are simply not a club who can afford to have three players on the wage bill for ostensibly one position.
You can understand why Arsenal are confident that Maitland-Niles will go for a lofty price and if reports are to be believed that most of the other London Premier League teams are interested.
But I for one will be sad to see him go, it is what I feel is an understandable yet short-sighted decision by Arsenal.
In no particular order here are my reasons for wanting Ainsley to stay a Gunner, some reasoned and some sentimental, but together they make a compelling case.
We all want our homegrown lads to succeed. While Nelson, Saka and Willock may excite, AMN already has 100 senior games under his belt.
While the player himself seems to have waivered as to whether he wants to still fight for a central midfield berth or is happy to play and fullback or wing back, the fact he can do all three roles is invaluable.
Of the three contenders, due to his midfield origins, when we opt to play an inverted right back as we have early on under Arteta, AMN fulfils this role best.
His pace and recovery are exceptional, and we have still to see if Bellerin will regain his previous levels.
There are several other players with shorter tenures on their current deals Arsenal could sell for similar money such as Lucas Torreira or Rob Holding.
I firmly believe Arteta would like to play 4-3-3 next season and he sees Thomas Partey (or that style of player) as a key component to those plans.
The athletic, powerful, defensive midfielder is something we have lacked for years and I genuinely believe that Maitland-Niles is the closest in attributes we have in the current squad.
If we accept that Arsenal fighting on several fronts, need two genuine contenders for each role, the young Englishman, is the best fit.
Lucas Torreira was bought as a combative defensive midfielder but whilst he has the terrier like qualities, he lacks the physicality.
I would much rather see the Uruguayan sold.
Every top side needs a high-level utility player, such as Liverpool have had in James Milner in recent seasons.
For Arsenal I think instantly of Gilles Grimandi, winning two titles playing centre back right back and defensive midfield.
AMN has the ability to be our modern-day Gilles and so much more and he might cast his mind back to Invincible Lauren who converted from midfield to right back and became a club legend.
In short, I sincerely hope Arteta gets his way, as I believe he would keep Maitland-Niles over some of the other players who might sell for reasonable money.
And of course most of these would be and who are on considerably higher wages.
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