Leicester City have been linked with a move for Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles as Brendan Rodgers looks to strengthen his first-team squad this summer.
According to BBC Sport (as reported by the Leicester Mercury), the Foxes are one of three Premier League clubs interested in signing the 23-year-old over the coming months alongside Burnley and Southampton.
Maitland-Niles is one of the players named as a potential makeweight from the Gunners in their proposed move for James Maddison, but it is understood that Leicester’s interest in the England international is not related to Maddison’s future.
The versatile youngster made a big impression when he first burst onto the scene, putting in several solid performances in a variety of positions for the north London outfit.
His impressive displays saw Maitland-Niles earn a call-up to the senior England squad in August 2020, earning praise from former Nottingham Forest full-back Stuart Pearce.
“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,” revealed Pearce.
“Saka hasn’t done anything wrong, but I’m a big fan of Maitland-Niles. 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.”
Despite Pearce’s prediction, Maitland-Niles found first-team opportunities hard to come by at the Emirates Stadium last term, starting just five Premier League games in the opening months of the campaign.
Despite putting in some solid performances, Maitland-Niles was unable to prevent the Baggies from suffering relegation and returned to his boyhood club at the end of the campaign.
However, it doesn’t seem as though he’ll be back for long. His versatility, age and potential make him an ideal Leicester signing, and Rodgers needs an extra option on the right-hand side of attack or further back in defence.
Cengiz Under has departed following a disappointing 12-month spell with the Midlands outfit, leaving them lightweight in that particular position, with only Marc Albrighton a natural fit.
Therefore, director of football Jon Rudkin must swoop for Maitland-Niles this summer, adding another promising, young English talent to Rodgers’ ranks.
And, in other news…Rodgers must axe struggling £16.2m-rated Leicester dud, he’s been shocking