Crystal Palace want Ainsley Maitland-Niles transfer
According to a report by Football.london, Crystal Palace have made an enquiry about Arsenal player Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The young Englishman spent the second half of this season out on loan at West Bromwich Albion and impressed despite the Baggies going down to the Championship.
The 23-year-old has also revealed that he is open to an exit from Arsenal if the club wants to part ways with him. His loan move was an indication that Mikel Arteta did not have him in his immediate plans. So we look at why Palace should look into a deal for Maitland-Niles.
A lack of midfielders at Crystal Palace
There is no hiding that the Eagles lack central midfielders going into next season. Of course, Jairo Riedewald and Luka Milivojevic are there but they play more as defensive midfielders. Captain James McArthur could be the only natural central midfielder in the team next season.
James McCarthy has been released by the club while McArthur will be 34 by the end of this year. This is where Maitland-Niles comes in. He might have been played as a full-back at Arsenal but he has already vocally stated that he wants to play in central midfield because of what he can bring to the team.
“I want to play in the centre of the pitch because I feel comfortable there and there’s a lot of things I can bring by playing in the middle. You can control the game from there and I think my attributes help me do that. This [West Brom loan] was a chance to show I’m capable in that midfield role rather than sitting on the bench all season.”
Maitland-Niles is still young
The 23-year-old still has a few years left until he can reach his peak. His age is a big bonus for the Londoners because they have a player who can keep getting better as he gets more minutes. With an ageing central midfield, Maitland-Niles’ youth could be a much-needed injection into the team.
Even Mikel Arteta, his current manager, has praised his attributes and change of attitude this season. With his contract expiring in 2023 and his openness to a move away from the Emirates, as mentioned above, this seems like a smart deal for Palace.
Versatility is king
Maitland-Niles would probably not like what we write next. But the Englishman is versatile enough to play as a left-back, right-back, and even on the wings. That is something that can be really handy for a team like Palace. Signing him would be like strengthening multiple positions at once.
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So all in all, Maitland-Niles seems to be a great fit for Palace. Given Palace’s lack of central midfielders, this move stands to benefit Maitland-Niles too. He wouldn’t have to relocate from London and can stand a chance to play in his favourite position.