Leeds United boss Marcelo Bielsa is interested in signing Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer.
The England international is currently on a season-long loan at West Brom, who saw their relegation from the Premier League confirmed when they lost 3-1 to the Gunners at the Emirates on the weekend.
Now, The Daily Mail claim that Maitland-Niles will return to Arsenal in the summer, with both Leeds and Southampton keen on signing him.
The report adds that “Manchester United and Everton have also shown an interest in him but they view Maitland-Niles as a right back”.
Given his wealth of Premier League experience at both the Gunners and West Brom, Maitland-Niles would offer Bielsa the kind of proven option at this level that he needs to add to his squad over the summer.
The £16.2m-rated ace has shown with the Baggies that he can play in central midfield, but his time at Arsenal saw him used in a number of different positions, including in both full-back roles – something Chris Sutton has previously hailed, saying: “The young man’s versatility is a weapon. He is such a versatile talent – a diamond.”
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, the 23-year-old has got the kind of pace and athleticism that should be perfect for Bielsa-ball.
His former teammate at Arsenal, Sead Kolasinac said: “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.”
It’s no surprise then that given his age – he’s still only 23 – Premier League experience, and versatility, that Bielsa is keen on bringing him to Elland Road this summer.