Sky Sports reporter Dharmesh Sheth discussed Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ potential deadline day departure on the latest edition of Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement and he shed some light on a potential boost for West Bromwich Albion in their pursuit of his signature during the show.
Despite all of those other teams sitting higher on the Premier League table than relegation-battling West Brom at present, Sheth indicated that the Baggies could have the edge over those sides with regard to securing the 23-year-old’s signature during this edition of Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement, as the player feels he may get more game time in his preferred central midfield position at The Hawthorns than he would at those other clubs.
The journalist first suggested that Arsenal will want to send Maitland-Niles on loan, rather than sell him, explaining that he’s a player Arsenal feel could be “best-served” developing at another club for the remainder of the 2020/21 campaign due to game time. He went on to share that Maitland-Niles’ preferred destination may be the West Midlands club, saying:
“If Arsenal would be willing to let him go, Maitland-Niles – some might say quite surprisingly – may want to go to West Bromwich Albion, and that’s because if he goes to West Bromwich Albion, I think he may feel, ‘I’ll get more regular first-team football, but not only that, I’ll get more regular first-team football in my preferred position’ – which is central midfield.
“That’s been the issue for Maitland-Niles, he’s been seen as a real utility player for Arsenal and hasn’t been able to nail down a particular position, and he’s covering for various positions and doing well in those positions, but for his own benefit and his own career, he wants to play in midfield.”
Will West Brom sign Maitland-Niles?
TIF Thoughts on what Sheth said about Maitland-Niles and West Brom…
Per Transfermarkt, West Brom have got just two natural central midfielders, as well as one defensive midfielder and one attacking midfielder.
You could certainly argue that the Baggies could do with bringing in some midfield reinforcements and if they want Maitland-Niles to perform that role, with the 23-year-old seemingly keen to continue his development in midfield, perhaps it’s understandable why that would give Albion an advantage over other teams with regard to signing the Arsenal man, particularly if the other teams who allegedly want to sign him don’t want to play him in midfield, with Maitland-Niles having primarily played at right-back for Arsenal’s first-team.
So, it will be interesting to see if Albion can convince Maitland-Niles and the Arsenal decision-makers that The Hawthorns is the right place for the Gunners academy product before the transfer window slams shut.