Crystal Palace must swoop for Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer after being linked with a move for the Arsenal midfielder.
What’s the story?
Maitland-Niles enjoyed a six-month loan spell with West Bromwich Albion at the backend of last season, but he doesn’t appear to be part of Mikel Arteta’s long-term plans at the Emirates Stadium.
Parish must swoop
After making his Gunners’ debut back in 2016, Maitland-Niles has gone on to make 121 appearances for his boyhood club in all competitions.
However, the versatile youngster has failed to hold down a regular place in the starting XI, often finding himself playing in a variety of positions depending on injuries and suspensions.
After an impressive run of form at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, Maitland-Niles earned himself a call-up into Gareth Southgate’s England squad, impressing former Nottingham Forest full-back Stuart Pearce as he played for his country.
“I think he’s been outstanding. I was surprised he didn’t get the nod to start before Saka last Thursday (against Wales). That was strange, for me. Saka hasn’t done anything wrong, but I’m a big fan of Maitland-Niles,” said Pearce.
“I saw him last season against Wolves, and he was up against the big lad Adama Traore. He was brilliant and coped really well up against him. For me, he’ll be integral to any success Arsenal have this season.”
Nevertheless, despite Pearce’s opinion, he found himself back on the Arsenal bench soon after and headed out to West Brom in search of regular game time just a few months later.
In 15 league outings for the Baggies, Maitland-Niles failed to register a single goal or assist as the Midlands outfit suffered relegation, although his overall performances showed promise.
Upon his arrival at the Hawthorns, he declared his desired to play in midfield and stake a claim for a place in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
That dream sadly failed to come true, but with experienced campaigners James McCarthy and James McArthur entering the final few weeks of their current contracts, a place in the Palace engine room may just be up for grabs.
Maitland-Niles could solve the south London outfit’s midfield conundrum for many years to come, and chairman Steve Parish would be foolish to pass up an opportunity to purchase the £14.4 million rated prodigy.