Has Maitland Niles done enough on loan to get into Arsenal’s midfield?

Has Maitland Niles Proved He Can Play In Our Midfield? By Dan


Maitland Niles has defended his loan move to West Brom although he might be trying to convince himself it’s been better than it has been?

It seem 2 of the three objectives have failed, the Baggies are going to get relegated and he’s not going to go to the Euros, unless there are serious amount of injuries.

The third – breaking into Arsenal’s midfield? That remains to be seen.

Since his move in January, Big Sam has played him in every Prem fixture possible.

While he hasn’t played poorly, he hasn’t done enough to be picked ahead of a Xhaka or Thomas Partey, but maybe could be an option when Ceballos’s loan ends and/or Elneny leaves?

Yet if it was a case of proving you are better than Elneny, you could have done that in training. The fact is three managers at Arsenal have now only rated the academy graduate good enough to be a rookie full back. Southgate equally only selected him for England as a left back. Southampton wanted to loan him but equally as a wing back.

So that’s 5 coaches who don’t view the player as the ‘midfielder’ he sees himself as.

Big Sam has played him in his chosen position, but he’s hardly going to be teaching tactics that are in line with Mikel Arteta’s ethos?

The local Birmingham media suggest that getting relegated but playing every week is better than being a squad player at a mid-table club.

Yet at the Emirates he’s already played in a Europa League Final, an FA Cup Final and got International recognition. He might even miss out on another Final this season.

So there were positives if Maitland Niles had embraced being an understudy to Tierney and Bellerin. Both of their injury records suggest he would have got minutes, just not in his favoured role.

A top sportsperson should back their own ability, and in a sense it’s admirable that Is why Niles has done. At the same time you need to listen to those around you.

His best scenario is that he jumps up the midfield pecking order, but he would still be on our bench and still seen as someone who can do a job at full back.

Or has he put himself in the shop window?

It’s believed Arteta spoke up for the player last summer and talked the Gunners out of accepting a 20 million bid from Wolves. Unless the Spaniard plans to use him in midfield (at the very least third choice) then it might be hard for Arsenal to turn down a similar offer.


Has Maitland Niles done enough on loan to get into our midfield?


Be kind in the comments




  1. Never seen him play in West Brom’s midfield. But I think the abilities to be Partey’s competitor, because of his athleticism, skills and speed

    Unfortunately he’s got many competitors for the right DM role, such as Willock, Guendouzi, Azeez, Torreira and Chambers

      1. gotanidea If he is not given a chance how can Arteta access him I say give the lad a chance in midfield and then see how he fares

    1. I like AMN, but unfortunately he lacks some crucial habilities for that spot. His passing range is not good enough, he loses concentration frequently, and he often misplaces easy short range passes. Yes, he is physycally built for the spot, but if he can’t improve those aspects, it would be a better choice to be a full time RB as he is a decent dribbler, has the pace and good crossing.

      1. Have you been watching him playing at West Brom? I agree his best position is on the wing and Allardyce said so as well, but I don’t think he likes to play wide

  2. Personally would have kept him here and shipped Ceballos back to Madrid that’s money saved and maybe putting him the shop window for next seasons transfer window ,I mean he could not have been as bad as Ceballos as been this season .

  3. Personally I think we should never take cebellos next season. Guendozi is set to be sold. Toreira should be sold. This leaves space in the middle for AMN. We don’t needs to spend unnecessarily so let him be 3rd or 4th choice CM and spend there money where needed.

    He also fills the homegrown and British quotas

  4. No.

    Not so prior to loan, and nothing to prove different since.

    GAI you say;

    “I think the abilities to be Partey’s competitor, because of his athleticism, skills and speed” ??

    “Competitor to Partey” ????

    I know Thomas has not yet set the world alight at our place (wait for next year we hope), but come on AMN a “competitor” for Partey’s shirt – fantasy time.

    Did you actually mean “Competitor” or AMN somehow figuring WITH Thomas ?

    That type of decision would definitely get Mikel sacked, and have us a dozen points behind by Christmas.

    Let’s look at the FACTS.

    It’s been SIX YEARS since AMN was loaned to Ipswich Town, with a view to coming back and being integrated to our first team.

    We’ve had THREE (permanent) first team managers during that period.

    Where are we that six years on ?

    AMN is on loan at WBA !

    Not for progressing his game (at 23 years of age his “game” is in place), but in the shop window, surely anyone can actually fathom that.

    What Is this smoke and mirrors surrounding this player ?

    I can only think sentimentality, or his lovely smile.

    Some of the descriptions I read of him would make him the first name down on the team sheet every week – but 3 managers have not rated him sufficiently to use him to any great degree.

    Some of the attributes granted to him by the cult of M-N, in my view (and in reality) he actually DOESN’T posses.

    Rather like a golfer with a hole in one, M-N cannot live of a couple of games in a successful F.A. cup run for the rest of his career – in fact a couple of games of a standard that I would expect of any player stepping in when required to the first team – after all this is THE ARSENAL !

    As with a few members of our current first team squad, it would benefit both the player and the club if they now moved on – on the proviso a suitable upgrade (quality wise) was brought in as a replacement.

    Why do I bang on about this ?


    For far too long now, we have invested too much time into players who are simply not up to it and remain on the fringes.

    Players who would be very fortunate to make any top 6 side at any given point in time.

    We have to step FORWARD not keep making costly regressive decisions, that leave us wading through treacle at best.

    Someone please tell me – how does re-introducing AMN into our first team take us forward, particularly in a transitional phase which seems to be going on forever anyway ?

    Answers from those who have actually watched this guys performances including Ipswich Town loan to WBA loan i.e. not just taken in by the cup winning appearances and the unfounded hyperbole.

    All of the above is written with the complete understanding we are all entitled to an opinion and respect for that right.

    1. Yeah I’m starting to think he’s like Armand traore – massive potential but only showing his best on odd occasions. You’ve got to grab the opportunities and amn hasn’t still.

    2. don’t ever hesitate to go off on any suspect trolling hot-take by GAI…much respect AJ

    3. My goodness, this lad is fantastic analyst. The lad is AJ writing above. I am of the same views as those in his letter.
      As AJ mentioned our club has been stuffed with players who shouldn’t be anywhere near any club of Arsenal ‘s stature. I know its hard to tell the truth but MN is bang average and 3 different managers appear to have the same view about him. That he plays midfield in West Bromley is barely a merit for him to play for Arsenal.
      Am not sure why we didn’t sell him to Wolves for £20m to allow Guendouzzi and Co to remain. Its hard to say but the truth is he has not been able to convince 3 managers at Arsenal and its best for him to move on

  5. Niles had a great season at Ipswich playing left back no mean feat for a predominantly right footer. Then had an excellent season under Emery as Bellerins replacement as Arsenal made 5th in the league and made the EL final. Ok he had a poor final game but at 21 had a great future as a RB or WB. But his insistence on playing midfield has is putting his future at risk.
    Because he wants to leave if some club offers 20 mill I’d take the money and run but in the covid ravaged climate 12-15 might now be the range.
    Even then I’d be taking the cash.

    1. I think you have your team sheet upside down

      AMN did not play left back at Ipswich, he played right wing!!

      Ceballos definitely has to go and personally I would go out all out for odegaard by selling Bellerin, Elneny, willian and xhaka to fund that.

      If we need more central midfielders then give Torreira, guendozi, AMN, azeez and Willock the chance to prove their worth or change the formation of the team so that we play with Partey as a no.6 with odegaard and smith-rowe as two no.8’s

  6. So how do West Brom’ fans rate our Ainsley ?

    And these folks actually WATCH the performances they post about ;

    ” Am I the only one who thinks AMN has been super underwhelming? Definitely hasn’t made the impact he was touted to, and his final 1/3 decision making can be poor. ”

    ” “Rubbish AMN ” (seems harsh -A J)

    ” Maitland-Niles is so wasteful. It speaks volumes that as poor as he’s been he’s still better than Jake and Romaine”

    “AMN needs to do much better in that position”

    “AMN is pants said it from day 1″

    ” AMN is never a central midfielder in a million years by the way. Plenty of energy but he can’t pass a ball. The sprint past Dummett on the right wing & his second half performance vs Burnley playing wide left shows he’s a winger. Might not like it but time to play him there ”

    ” I think he’ll be one of those what could have been players who’ll fall through the leagues. No where near as good as the likes of Mount at a similar age. ”

    ” Surely Pereira has to play down the middle. He wasn’t great today and has been inconsistent, but he’s the only player who can pick a pass in the final third. Gallagher and AMN have terrific engines but their final balls are nearly always lacking. ”

    ” Allardayce has to take blame for this. The game was crying out for a Robinson type player after 60 minutes. Pereira again was too slow, his delivery woeful. AMN and Gallagher can’t fault their energy and desire but zero end product. Keep Yokuslu nest season at all costs”

    ” Allardayce has to take blame for this. The game was crying out for a Robinson type player after 60 minutes. Pereira again was too slow, his delivery woeful. AMN and Gallagher can’t fault their energy and desire but zero end product. Keep Yokuslu nest season at all costs”.

    The above quotes are not from one WBA supporter with a personal vendetta to do Ainsley down, but each quote is from a different Albion fan.

    They will of course be many many WBA fans who rate the guy and will post accordingly, I just happen to be of the opinion of the downside brigade.

    Good enough to recall into AFC’s first team going forward in a rebuilding phase ………. come on.

    Screw someone for the most we can get in the current climate, and reinvest.

  7. AJ sums it up. Chances over several seasons, incredibly inconsistant. Hugely talented on his day, but that’s rare. Lazy at times, but worst of all he waste’s his talent, loses concentration for long periods, either disappearing or making careless mistakes He just doesnt have the mentality of a successful footballer and he never kicked on from being a promising youngster. Needs to go.

  8. Strangely enough, this exact thing happened to my son.

    Made his name as a right back, and was signed accordingly.

    Standing at 6’3″ the club he was at decided to move him across to centre back, as they saw he could play anywhere across the back line as he was very versatile.

    But, he was by trade a right back – and this what he was signed as.

    After playing anywhere across the back line which of course includes off his left (wrong) foot he hung in there, but was eventually released by a newly appointed manager who notoriously did not wait for young players to fully develop – this after said manager was told upon arrival by the youth team coach “he had something here”.

    My lad was devastated.

    Semi pro followed, then jacked it in having known the higher level (sadly a common occurrence I suspect).

    So I accept “versatility” can be your downfall, and our family have suffered from this very “attribute” – as indeed Ainsley may have done earlier in his career.

    So I certainly do not attempt to carry out “character assassination” here”, but simply think AMN is not good enough for Arsenal Football’s Clubs’ first team squad.

      1. Yep.

        Back when Ollie was at our place, my lad would be asked for autographs/ photos as “Ollie” in the street.

        His “French accent was pony though”.

        Showed a poster of my lad in his Arsenal shirt to a Chelski fan at work after Giroud had left us saying we need him back. Bloke spoke to me about my son for half an hour believing it was Giroud – his face when I told him.

        Also, he’s done some double work with Ollie for ads.

        Giroud is apparently a really nice, top guy a pleasure to be around.

        Another prem’ striker was there on the same shoot, and was a right “up himself” prima donna.

        This guy wouldn’t be seen in the same room as his double, as he though the double was better looking !!!

        We can only hope that was a joke !

        One last story.

        My favourite Son / Ollie story.

        Walking through another teams neck of the woods with the family on day.

        A major Euro tournament was on and the pubs were packed with fans.

        As we went passed one pub the fans started chanting “Giroud is our player” & “Ollie Ollie give us a wave”

        So who gave ’em a wave …………….. me – loved it !!

        Still, an “old bloke” reminiscing, and boring everyone on here rigid with irrelevance.

        I promise to stop now – I’ll get lobbed off by admin’. 🙂

        1. 😂 hilarious, A J!! I can only imagine the look on your face as you waved – brilliant!! Great stories, thank you!

          Your son has done all right out of it then?! Are you going to name and shame the other prem striker?

  9. Good back up for left back for Tierney or right back for Cedric along with Chambers once Bellerin departs.

    Not midfield for me.

  10. Like all Gooners I have my own opinion on AMN.
    I think it a near certainty the the club will attempt to sell him this summer and it will all come down to whether or not any REAL fee is achievable, or not.

    He is clearly not seen as a possible midfielder, whatever some on here may think, including myself.
    That being so, I see no real role in our team and the club will be keen to prune wages and prune all those who are considered expendable.

  11. If he’s not good enough to replace the hapless xhaka he ain’t for us …. Both sold in the summer an upgrade plus one of the juniors brought in would seem the sensible strategy

  12. Not good enough to be a starting midfielder in the top division…for the right team, with some financial flexibility, he could make some sense as defensive specialist who might only play a dozen or so games in a season against particularly problematic wide-side players…if he’s hellbent on playing in the middle he likely will have to go down a division or abroad…the fact remains, if we were actually offered upwards of 20m for him, which I’m a bit skeptical about, we should have ripped that cheque right out of their hands and ran straight to the bank…I just don’t think there will ever be a second offer quite like that…hope I’m wrong though

  13. He needs to play like an inverted winger or wingback and deal with it, make that position his best.

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