The 24-year-old has been used sparingly at the club in recent years, only making 22 starts since Mikel Arteta took charge of the club in 2019, and even had to spend time out on loan with West Bromwich Albion in the second half of last season in order to get some playing time.
And that frustration appeared to boil over yesterday as he posted a message on his Instagram story in which he said (as per The Guardian): “All I want to do is go where I’m wanted & where I’m going to play @Arsenal”, a clear message that he doesn’t see much playing time on the horizon for himself at the Emirates Stadium.
“Ainsley Maitland-Niles could still force a move out of Arsenal today before the deadline. We know Everton’s interest in him, and we know what he put on Instagram yesterday. That was quite the plea, so we’ll see if things move with Ainsley Maitland-Niles over the next few hours.”
TIF Thoughts on Dan Windle’s comments about Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal…
Would you like to see Ainsley Maitland-Niles move away from Arsenal this summer?
A recent report in The Athletic has linked Maitland-Niles with a move to Everton, stating that the two clubs are in negotiations over a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.
When it comes to the playing side of things, if he wasn’t able to earn his way back into the team after his spell at West Brom – a place where he himself claimed that he was able to develop as a player a lot quicker than he did at Arsenal – then it shows that the Gunners probably don’t have many plans for him moving forward, perhaps best demonstrated by the fact he’s only played 48 minutes so far this season.
But if that wasn’t enough of a sign, given the way things have turned in the past 24 hours with his comments on social media, the bridges are likely to have been burned when it comes to the relationship between player and club, and there really should be no coming back from that after the way he acted.
So whilst the report claims that it will be a loan deal with an option to buy, Arsenal would probably be better off trying to force a permanent deal, or a loan with an obligation to buy, just to get him out of the club and wash their hands of the matter.