‘Play me or sell me’ – Arsenal man gives Arteta a transfer ultimatum
Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles has given Mikel Arteta and the club hierarchy a transfer ultimatum ahead of next season.
Maitland-Niles joined the Gunners as a youngster in 2003 and he made his professional debut for them at the end of 2014.
He was 17-years-old at the time as he came on in the Champions League as Arsenal beat Galatasaray 4-1.
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The midfielder impressed while on loan with Ipswich Town in the Championship in 2015/16 as he made 32 appearances across all competitions.
Maitland-Niles rejoined the Gunners’ first team ahead of the 2016/17 campaign. Since then, he has made over 120 appearances for the Londoners.
After making 32 appearances during the 2019/20 season, the youngster looked likely to join Wolves on a permanent deal. But this fell through as Arteta had plans for him to feature.
Maitland-Niles then played eleven times in the Premier League before he was given permission to join West Brom on loan.
The 23-year-old played a further 12 times in the Premier League for the Baggies, who suffered relegation back down to the Championship.
Most of Maitland-Niles’ appearances for Arsenal and England have come in defence. This despite the player often speaking of his desire to play in central midfield for both his club and his country.
The England international performed well for Sam Allardyce’s side but it remains unclear whether he is part of Arteta’s plans for the 2021/22 season.
Maitland-Niles still has two years remaining on his current contract with Arsenal, so the club will still be able to demand a decent fee for him.
The player has told The Telegraph that he wants to be given “clarity” regarding his future:
“If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way.
“They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me.
“I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure.
“I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can get to work with whoever I need to get to work with.
“Whether that is finding a new club or whether that is carrying on with my training. I would like some kind of indication of what is happening. Where they [Arsenal] see me.
“If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye. It’s been a long journey but a proud one at that.
“Maybe they still want to do something and things could change. If not, there’s always other teams.
“It would be easier to do it now than waiting for pre-season to kick in and everything is super busy.
“And they can’t answer their phones because they are doing too much work. You know how the football world works.”
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