The race is on to secure Ainsley Maitland-Niles before tomorrow night’s transfer deadline and West Brom need to ensure they’re at the front of the queue as their relegation battle took another blow on Saturday afternoon…
According to the Mirror’s chief football writer John Cross, Albion are among several Premier League teams chasing the 23-year-old midfielder on loan, though the competition is fierce with the likes of Leicester City, Southampton and Newcastle United all keen too.
The versatile Gunners ace is a player that Baggies boss Sam Allardyce would love to secure in the next 24 hours, he told reporters after their 2-2 draw with Fulham: “We’d love one to be Maitland-Niles, but I don’t think that’s going to be the case.”
If the player wants it, and the manager wants it, then this could be pretty straight forward.
West Brom only have one more domestic loan spot available and the three-time England international is the perfect option to fill it as he’s vastly versatile and he should be well within their budget given he’s only earning a reported £35k-per-week at the Emirates, which is less than Kieran Gibbs (£55k-per-week), Jake Livermore (£46k-per-week) and Branislav Ivanovic (£38k-per-week), as per Spotrac.
Speaking in his Daily Mail column, BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton lauded Maitland-Niles a ‘diamond’ as his ‘versatility is a weapon.’
Indeed, the 23-year-old has played a grand total of seven positions across 223 career appearances, primarily playing in central midfield and at full-back -arguably two positions the Baggies are weakest right now.
Both Jake Livermore and Romaine Sawyers have struggled centrally, averaging the two worst WhoScored ratings of any Albion regular, whilst Gibbs is thought to have already angered Big Sam, while he’s yet to settle on Dara O’Shea or Darnell Furlong at right-back.
Maitland-Niles can fill either of those roles with his energy and work-rate constantly praised by many onlookers.
Peter Crouch told BT Sport (via the Metro) that he thinks the Arsenal man is “tremendous,” adding: “He’s got energy and he’s calm on the ball. He was full of confidence.”
Which echoed the thoughts of fellow pundit Martin Keown who dubbed him a “Rolls-Royce of a player at times.”
The 23-year-old self-proclaimed “workhorse” would be fine and much-needed addition before the deadline. As seen above, if everyone is keen on this late move happening, then it’s absolutely a no-brainer for all parties.
AND in other news, Exclusive: West Brom backed to seal PL striker before deadline