According to reports, Leeds are interested in signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles amid speculation he could leave Arsenal on a more permanent basis this summer.
The England international is currently on loan at fellow Premier League side West Brom, but with the Baggies set to go back down to the Championship, there appears to be a real window of opportunity for other clubs to come in.
Now, The Daily Mirror claim that Marcelo Bielsa’s side are the latest team to be watching developments over Maitland-Niles, while the likes of Crystal Palace and French side AS Monaco are also said to be in for him.
If Bielsa and the club’s fans love Stuart Dallas for his sheer versatility, then Maitland-Niles is cut from that same cloth, being able to play in a number of different positions and roles.
It was something that former Premier League striker Chris Sutton once lauded, saying: “The young man’s versatility is a weapon. He is such a versatile talent – a diamond.”
Maitland-Niles, who earns around £45k-per-week at the Emirates, was dubbed a “Rolls-Royce of a player” by Martin Keown a few months ago when Arsenal beat Rapid Vienna 4-1 in the Europa League (BT Sport via football.london).
His former teammate at Arsenal, Sead Kolasinac, raved about his pace too, saying: “He’s so quick and he reads the game well, so he knows what to do before the ball arrives. He’s shown that in the last couple of games.
“I’ve spoken to him. I told him that he’s so quick – if I had that pace, I’d never stand still, I’d just run! When you’re that quick, it’s difficult to stop someone. ‘He has the acceleration and when he gets going, he’s tough to defend against. That can be a weapon for us.”
Given his affinity for players who can play in multiple roles and can really get attuned to the kind of transition football that Leeds enjoy, Maitland-Niles appears to be the perfect player for Bielsa. The Leeds boss will surely be buzzing at the links with the Arsenal star.