An update has emerged on Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles, regarding Newcastle’s interest in his services.
According to The Daily Mail, Newcastle are looking at Arsenal central midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles as a potential target to bolster their squad this summer.
The report claims that the Magpies are exploring their options after missing out on a deal for Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina. OGC Nice are said to be on the verge of landing the Gabon international, leaving Newcastle to look at alternative targets, including Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock.
Steve Bruce must land Maitland-Niles in the coming weeks as he could be a terrific addition to the squad, whether it is on a permanent or a loan basis. Imagine if the club can bring in both Willock and Maitland-Niles, it could lead to a terrific central midfield pairing that would excite supporters due to their quality and potential.
Willock, of course, was on loan at Newcastle last season and set St James’ Park alight with an incredible run of form to end the campaign. He provided eight goals in 11 starts, averaging a sublime WhoScored rating of 7.13 – higher than any other player in the squad. At the age of 21, he also has plenty of time left to develop further and improve as a player.
His Gunners teammate, meanwhile, spent the backend of the 2020/21 campaign on loan to West Brom. He was unable to prevent their relegation to the second tier, but was still able to tot up 15 appearances in the Premier League to add to the 11 he managed in the first-half of the season for Mikel Arteta.
Stuart Pearce once claimed Maitland-Niles will be integral for Arsenal and backed him to play ahead of current England international Bukayo Saka. He said:
“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. 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.”
In the 2019/20 season, the £48k-per-week beast caught the eye with some impressive displays. He averaged 3.5 tackles and interceptions per game across 20 appearances to show his ability to win the ball back at Premier League level. Last term, Jonjo Shelvey averaged 2.5 tackles and interceptions per game, suggesting that the Arsenal man could come in and be an upgrade on the ex-Liverpool player by adding more defensive steel to the midfield.
He is also six years younger than Shelvey, which means that he could develop over the course of a number of season and grow to become a far superior option in midfield. Therefore, Newcastle should be trying everything to land a midfield pairing of Willock and Maitland-Niles next season.