Southampton are once again being linked with Arsenal ace Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer and given his versatility, he could be a superb addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad ahead of next season.
According to the Mirror, Arsenal are willing to let the 23-year-old leave the Emirates this summer, which has put both Southampton and Watford on high alert.
The report claims that Arsenal are tempted to cash in on the academy graduate as they look to fund some expensive summer moves, and Southampton could make an official approach for the England international as early as next week.
Southampton were heavily linked with a loan move for the youngster in the winter transfer window, so he is clearly a player who is on Hasenhuttl’s radar.
After Maitland-Niles made it clear that he sees his future as a midfielder rather than a full-back, where Southampton were perhaps keen to deploy him as back-up to Kyle Walker-Peters and Ryan Bertrand, he would end up joining West Brom on loan instead.
During his time at the Hawthorns, he would make 15 appearances in the Premier League, managing no goals and one assist, earning a less than impressive 6.48 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
He would show his class in impressive back-to-back wins against Chelsea and Southampton earlier in the season where he made a combined eight tackles and three interceptions. That certainly helped West Brom to improve in the second half of the campaign but was ultimately unable to save them from relegation.
However, the £14.4m-rated Englishman has plenty of experience in the Premier League, would be able to add to Hasenhuttl’s depth at full-back and in midfield, and also has plenty of time to improve, so he could prove to be a shrewd signing by the South Coast club this summer.
Given his versatility, he certainly seems like the sort of player Hasenhuttl would love to have in his squad next season, so whilst he would likely cost more than the £10m limit the Austrian set for Southampton ahead of the transfer window, CEO Martin Semmens should definitely explore the possibility of bringing him to St Mary’s.