West Brom have been dealt a deadline day blow in pursuit of a reported target, and it surely won’t please Sam Allardyce…
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, the Baggies won’t be signing versatile Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles before tonight’s 11pm deadline, and he could instead join one of their Premier League rivals.
It’s claimed that the Gunners did not want the 23-year-old joining Albion, and now it is between Leicester City, Southampton and Newcastle United.
Maitland-Niles’ preferred destination appears to be West Brom’s Midlands rivals, whilst Arsenal would like to see him join the Saints.
This will come as a disappointing blow to Big Sam as the three-time England international was someone he was very keen to land. Speaking to reporters over the weekend, he claimed that he would “love” to bring Maitland-Niles to the Hawthorns.
And it’s easy to see why given his versatility and proven expertise in the English top-flight.
He has also played 64 times in the Premier League and 31 times across the Europa League and Champions League, which is vast experience in comparison to the bulk of the Baggies’ current squad barring the likes of Kieran Gibbs and Branislav Ivanovic.
Former PL striker Chris Sutton dubbed Maitland-Niles a ‘diamond’ whose ‘versatility is a weapon,’ whilst his fellow BT Sport pundit Martin Keown once lauded the Hale End youth product a “Rolls-Royce of a player” given his energy and work-rate (via the Metro).
It’s thought that Albion are prioritising a right-sided defender. That’s what they would have got in the Arsenal man – one that is also capable of filling in other positions, which could have proved vital the season rumbles on.
Allardyce will clearly be gutted as it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll get a player he evidently really wanted at the club. Their attentions have now turned to Spurs’ Japhet Tangana, but they too face heated competition, as per The Athletic‘s Steve Madeley and Charlie Eccleshare.
AND in other news, “Big talent” target would be a major upgrade for West Brom