Talk about potentially one of the shock transfers of this summer. Despite their north London rivalry, it appears Tottenham are very keen on luring a player from arch-rivals Arsenal as they look ahead to Jose Mourinho’s first full season in charge at the club.
The Sun claim that Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been told he can leave the Emirates despite starting in the FA Cup final, with Mikel Arteta having to sacrifice the home-grown star in order to raise funds for new signings.
The report suggests the Gunners will be looking to get around £30m for the Englishman, and that within days of being put on the market, every Premier League side in London except Chelsea registered their interest.
Whether Maitland-Niles would consider crossing the north London border remains to be seen, but the 22-year-old did prove that he can be a valuable asset to any team.
He started both the FA Cup semi-final and final as a make-shift left wing-back, and performed admirably, keeping the likes of Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount in check.
Described as having “great quality” by former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, Maitland-Niles has even been compared to ex-Spurs hero Gareth Bale.
After watching his performance in a Europa League away win against Napoli, Tony Cascarino said: “I saw the next Gareth Bale on Thursday — and he was wearing an Arsenal shirt. Sorry, Spurs fans. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is a full back who is not really a full back, just like Bale when he joined Tottenham in 2007. He has fierce pace and gets in great positions to score and create chances.”
That may be a bit of a stretch, but Spurs could get someone in Maitland-Niles who offers Jose Mourinho’s side some versatility and another home-grown player to fit the quota.