Arsenal academy graduate set to become the first casualty of Mikel Arteta’s rebuild

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is likely to be sold this summer as Mikel Arteta looks to raise funds to sign his summer targets, according to The Athletic.

Arteta became Arsenal’s manager late last year, and he gave every player the chance to prove themselves afresh.

Maitland-Niles started the Spaniard’s first few games, however, he fell out of favour and hasn’t made the starting XI since January.

The full-back reportedly angered Arteta by reporting late to Arsenal’s training on a number of occasions and it seems that Mikel Arteta doesn’t think that he has the mindset to succeed under him.

The Spaniard is looking to rebuild his Arsenal team and has warned that only players who prove that they are worth it would make his team.

The Gunners would also have to sell some players before they can make new signings when the transfer window reopens and The Athletic reckons that one of those is set to be Maitland-Niles.

He has been at the club since he was six and remains one of the recent graduates from the club’s academy, however, Arteta isn’t looking to keep a player that doesn’t measure up to the standard that he has set for his team.

Tags Ainsley Maitland-Niles


  1. Roshan says:

    He’s contracted till 2023 and this is not a sellers market. Unless a great offer comes, i would be keeping. AMN has all the tools required to be a great player if Arteta could only get him to commit. I’d perhaps loan him to a side that would allow him to play midfield and then decide his fate.

    1. Godonga says:

      Rubbish post.

  2. SueP says:

    To have been part of The Arsenal set up since the age of 6 and to have been part of the first team should be a dream come true.

    It is beyond my comprehension that he would be arriving late for training when he really should behave professionally. If Arteta feels that AMN is not up for the challenge then that is his call to make , but my goodness, what a shortsighted attitude by AMN.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Spot on, Sue; ability only takes you so far, as hard work and a professional attitude are major components of success.
      AMN should watch the Arsenal videos on Dennis Bergkamp and Martin Keown to see how hard they worked and their commitment to succeed.

      1. SueP says:

        I do so agree especially with the word commitment
        Bergkamp was true class and still worked hard. MS was not so talented but proved graft and determination could still pay off.

      2. Mogunna says:

        I disagree mate. To begin with; this post mentions that the Left Back fail to prove in few games!

        Right there, it is unreal to read; Niles is not a Left back and but rated as most promising academy player for few yeats. A box to box midfield player!

        When he gets signed by a top club, as bennacer, he will prove the one who doubted that he is a top midfield player!

        I can see him do well in many clubs as Bayern, Dortmund where coach, Milan, Juve, Barca , City and do very well under supportive coach at his best position, not LB!

        If Saka had bad games as a RB, he would have been benched, judged and sold same way. Niles is bit ahead of Saka and both should be in first team of course, not sold because not good as LB!

        Tierny is back fit and Saka will be benched instead to be played at his position !

        Niles never had a chance to play one game In his position! This article is as nuts as many lately! Covid does that!

  3. American Gunner Fan says:

    Mikel Arteta is trying to do something at Arsenal that has proven to be a very successful way to rebuild a club that has fallen on hard times in American sports: building a “winning culture”. What this involves is assembling a roster of players who are totally committed to the game, to winning, to getting better every day, to doing whatever it takes to play and play better; players who show up early for practice, ask coaches to work with them after practice to help them refine aspects of their game, and stay long after practice working with their teammates simply because they love the game and want to have fun and get better at it at the same time. It also involves bringing together players who love to compete at everything and getting them to bond with one another so that, when the pressure is on, they know that they can trust the player next to them and can communicate as a team. This is a relatively new concept in team construction that requires identifying players who love the game and are so focused on winning that they will sacrifice individual goals for the good of the team in order to win. Within this construct, individual talent is important, but secondary to character, work ethic and ability to fit within the system.

    Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be part of a top of the line right back pairing with Hector Bellerin. But that’s not what he wants. It doesn’t matter what’s good for the team ( or his future), he wants to play in the middle of the park. He doesn’t like the situation he’s in at Arsenal, so he has been late to practices. This makes him antithesis of a player who is a fit in a winning culture. It also makes him a player who can be destructive to the building and maintaining of a winning culture. And, as a result, in spite of the fact that he is a talented player, he has to go. He can’t be kept around on a club that is trying to build a winning culture and has to be sold.

    Arsene Wenger was what we Americans call “a player’s coach”. He was not demanding: he expected his players to be professional and to do the right thing. In his later years at Arsenal he was lax in terms of demanding accountability from his players and they became increasingly undisciplined on and off the pitch. Under Unai Emery, discipline collapsed and you saw players out of position and even not knowing where they should be on the pitch.

    Mikel Arteta knows that a club cannot win consistently that way. In his playing days, he was the consumate disciplined professional. He knows what it takes to win in the Premier League and how hard that is. And it is already apparent that he knows that he cannot bring the club back from the depths that it has sunk and rebuild a winning culture with a number of the players currently on the books. Maitland-Niles is just one of the players that he is going to try to off-load, some of them with considerable potential or talent. But he won’t be the last.

    It may take a couple of seasons for Arteta to build the kind of roster that he wants and, doubtless, many Arsenal fans will be upset at seeing talent going out the door and being replaced by younger or seemingly less talented players. But, he is trying to build a winning team, not a collection of talented individuals who barely seem to have met on the pitch. And he appears to be going about it in a way that has been successful in other sports.

    1. SueP says:

      What a thoroughly thoughtful response and so well written

    2. Jo-Gunz says:

      You are on point

    3. jon fox says:

      AGF, Congrats on one of the all time best and most thoughtful and ,imo, true posts I have read on here in several years, since I started. Have you ever thought about contributing your own articles and if not, then please would you?

  4. Grandad says:

    If this speculation turns out to be true,there will be plenty Clubs interested in this talented young player who has never been given a run of games in midfield where he would be a real asset for Arsenal with his pace and energy.I cannot believe Arteta would react in childish manner for someone who I believe was late for training on only one occassion.If AMN has not been putting in the effort during training, that is an entirely different matter.In practical terms of does not make sense to sell a talent but be obliged to work with players who are bang average, e.g. Mustafi, Socratis, Elneny, Kolasinac, Etc. The ethos which AGF covered so well in his piece, originated from a certain Mr Guardiola who makes high demands of his players.In this connection, it will be interesting to see how long Kyle Walker lasts at Man City after his disgusting recent behavior which makes turning up late pale into insignificance .

  5. Jo-Gunz says:

    Arteta who directly work with the players would be well informed of their attitude.
    There is more than meets the eye.
    The little that I have seen of him tells me that he has learnt his trade well regards to game tactics and player management.
    If this rumor turns out to be true, I will have no doubts that it has been well thought through by Arteta and he knows what he is doing.

  6. Loose Cannon says:

    run like a headless chickens during training and crawl limp hop skip jump on matchday, it think this may be the mantra of Mikel or how can Ozil Xhaka Laca Socrates Luiz make it constantly while Gabriel AMN are benched?

    1. Kstix says:

      My thoughts exactly

  7. Jay Alenby says:

    I love to see this. Make an example out of him. If he can’t show up on time then he doesn’t have the discipline to succeed in the EPL. Arsenal need to set high standards for their players and their organization. Good riddance.

  8. Benard Wandera says:

    Arsenal we need to buy some quality prayers in order to compete with other big clubs I think that’s what we need now

  9. Top Gunner says:

    How many mistakes has AMN made? This hate for Maitland-Niles cannot be justified. I would like to ask Arteta directly if underperforming players are part of his plan to build Arsenal, because Maitland-Niles is not one of underperfomer.

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