Should Arsenal let Maitland-Niles leave in January?

A few thoughts on the possible transfer rumours regarding AMN – again.

The main problem is that Arteta won’t let AMN start in his best (for Arsenal as well as himself) position. Bearing in mind that AW said long ago that central midfield would become AMN’s best position, here is where AMN went wrong – twice in my opinion:

Mistake 1) AMN said “I just want the same chance as others to play in my best position of central midfield.” He was probably referring to Willock.
Result – spent most of his time either on the bench or in a full back position when needed. Arteta’s thoughts/reasoning? Perhaps “No player is going to tell me where he should play – I know best!”
He was then brought back late on in the season, not as a FB but in the better position of LWB, where he drew rave/MOTM type reviews for his performances in the cup semi-final, cup final and the shield – against 3 top teams.

Mistake 2)
a) Ozil “I have been dropped from the team, but NOT for footballing reasons.”
b) Arteta “Ozil has been dropped FOR footballing reasons.”
c) AMN “The dressing room is with Ozil.”

That probably went down like a lead balloon with Arteta, and once again we saw AMN on the bench and only recently getting a start, this time swopped over to the right as a RWB.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 19: Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal looks dejected following his team’s defeat in the Premier League match between Everton and Arsenal at Goodison Park on December 19, 2020 in Liverpool, England. A limited number of fans (2000) are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Peter Powell –

Much to the disgust of many, Arteta continuously plays his favourites, Xhaka being the worst example. Some of us have known for some time that Xhaka is pretty useless but it seems he’s the first name on Arteta’s teamsheet. Arteta maintains he picks the team from how they go on in training so Xhaka must play like a combination of Partey and Messi!

I do not believe one word of Arteta’s statement that “Everyone starts with a clean sheet . . .” His words say one thing – his actions prove the opposite. I believe he holds grudges towards some players. Perhaps he has a fragile ego but if so then it is detrimental to Arsenal. If he stays then let’s hope he forgets his ego and starts making some good decisions in all areas. His latest decisions have been awful.

Regarding a move to Atletico: If Simeone told AMN he would play in the position vacated by Partey I think he would seriously consider the move. Not so sure he’d go if offered any other position.

In fact I believe that if an offer came in from any EPL club offering AMN a starting position in central midfield then AMN would be giving it serious consideration – much like Emi’s decision to move to Villa for the good of his career.

If this happens I totally agree with many at the Just Arsenal site that letting him go would be yet another monumental mistake by Arteta.


Tags Ainsley Maitland-Niles Arteta Atletico


  1. There’s been some recent possibly justified criticisms of Ainsley’s performances and it would be fair to say that he’s become a victim of his own versatility, but I think it would be a big mistake to let him go at anything under £50 million (if we’re so desperate to sell him at all).
    Being outspoken in such a provocative manner probably hasn’t endeared him to Arteta but it just emphasises the dressing room unrest which will eventually completey nail the Arteta/Edu coffins.
    Happy Xmas all🎅🏽

  2. No, because he played well in many positions. All top teams need at least two versatile players like Maitland-Niles

  3. Hi everyone, merry Christmas to all readers.
    I’ve been away and unable to share my views because I’ve had a whole lot to go through during the past one month. Really struggled with my health, but I’m grateful I’m fully recovered, back and fit, ready to go like Wenger would say “like a new signing”.

    I’m sure I’ve missed a whole of amazing articles, reasonable discussions, knee jerk reactions and the sorts. Are we in crisis? I don’t like to think we are.
    As hard as this seems, Arteta for me still is the man to be left at the helm.
    Yes we’re struggling to win games, but it’s probably happening for good. The whole expectations fans had were too big because we won the FA cup.
    Also, personally I know Arsenal being touted as potential candidates to relegate into the championship is stupid and overboard.
    Realistically, Arsenal won’t get relegated. We might struggle till season ends, but there’s enough to stay afloat in the league.

    We all know Edu and co had plans this past summer to build a new team.
    We expected a lot to go out and free space for new players, but we could never get them to move on. This January and next summer would probably shape how this team is built for the next couple of years.
    A whole lot of unwanted players would be out and there would be enough slot to bring in whatsoever player we need and want.
    It’s tough and Arteta himself isn’t making it easy with his decisions, but I’m sticking with Arteta.

    1. Glad to hear you’re fighting fit, Eddie! Merry Christmas… have a great day – the calm before the storm – tomorrow at 17.30 🤣🎄🎁⚽️🎅

    2. Welcome back Eddie and best of luck for future good health. Nothing is as important as good health, as we all know.
      I like the thrust of your post. I cannot understand though- as it seems many others also think- why AMN has not been given any proper chance in his natural positionof midfield. Esp when you consider the woeful lack of alternatives who DO get picked time and time again. Xhaka? Why is he still here ? Why do our last three managers all pick him, ponderous and immobile, in front ofpacy and mobile AMN in midfield? A total mystery surely!

      I am also with MA and know he needs proper time to get all the deadwood out, which Covid is making impossible. But with patience, MA whose special qualities I see clearly -and even though he does make many selection and shape mistakes -will come good.

      It is not as if a world class proven manager would even accept the post under KROENKE, as a number of worldly “innocent” fans naively believe they would.

      1. What are the special qualities Arteta possess? We are not just losing, we are losing while playing horrible! Arteta is a fraud

  4. I rate AMN and would like to keep him. In fact I would like to see him get a run of games. Is he really not better than Bellerin? He offers more going forward and is getting better and better at defending.

    Even better, play him in midfield. He won’t be our savior but he offers more than some of our other midfield players. Elneny is good only when he supports a player like Party. On his own he is a liability and brings nothing going forward.

    1. I still think AMN is out best one-on-one defender, miles better than Bellerin in that area. Was shocked he didn’t play against wolves as Tierney couldn’t handle Traore at all, but AMN has already shown he can.

  5. If hes got to go then offer him and cash to get a player he we desperately need. I’m sure Palace or Aston Villa would gladly take him with some money for either Zaha or Grealish.

  6. AMN is a homegrown, good footballer, with just one problem. His concentration can let him down. Why do we want to get rid of a young rising star like AMN…….when what we need is to get rid of Xhaka, Mustafi, Bellerin, Runarsson, Kolasinac, Luiz, Willian, and Nketiah who are all second level or over their sell by date. We have (Guendouzi), Saliba, Torreira and Ozil to add to the squad as we have the worst midfield in the EPL. Although Guendouzi will have to stay at Hertha BSC till the season end, he is so much better than our present midfield, miles better. Ozil could save us from relegation by improving home matches. The best thing that could happen to Arsenal though would be to get rid of ‘the grudge holder’, Arteta who has brought a moody darkness on us, and the worst football we have ever seen at our beloved Arsenal.

    1. Ozil?.. Are you even serious.
      Saliba? Has anyone ever seen Saliba play?
      Guendouzi..I remember a player who takes many touches of the ball and only releases it when he is being crowded by the opposition. Slowed down the midfield just like Xhaka but suddenly touted here as the next Maradona..
      Want Luiz gone ..The only player able to pass properly at AFC.
      You hate of Arteta is clouding your judgment..

      1. Mark
        Your memory is poor, and you are talking about Guendouzi, ‘being touted as the next Maradona’. That’s in your head, not mine. I just want to see us avoid having to make trips to Barnsley next season. Arteta is simply not good enough and our football, with Arteta as conductor, shows that quite clearly. I have no hate for Arteta, in fact I wish him happiness and a good life. It just is not working for him here, and for most of the million worldwide supporters who love Arsenal.

        1. Mark
          At least, ‘Maradona’ Guendouzi (your words not mine, t) scored a screamer for Hertha Berlin. He’s just better than Xhaka by a long mile.

    2. I think bellarin is good, coz he is an attacking right back, the problem for arsenal is the attacking midfield. If arteta can get graelish,erickson or dele ali. I can see that team doing well, if they can play passing football and attack like they used to do players will gain confidence and get better

  7. AMN should not be sold nor loaned but should be installed as our number one RB or RWB .He is far more productive and comfortable on the right side of the pitch where he can get forward and cross/pass on the run.He is very limited on the left where he has been deployed effectvely, but purely in a man marking role.While I am a fan of AMN ,I realize he does not have the football intelligence nor technical ability to keep possession in the engine room .As Sean has highlighted he tends to lose concentration and ball watch instead of picking up his man, but that weakness can be ironed out quickly with a modicum of one to one coaching.If Athletico Madrid are looking for a RB they can gladly have Bellerin of Soares.In fact we should actively encourage them to buy the former for say 20m .

  8. Mark, with the utmost respect, your views on Guendouzi are not shared by a host of professional football Managers, including the French National team Manager.You may of course be better qualified than him in determining what makes a quality footballer, but, somehow,I doubt it. You are of course perfectly entitled to your views , which I share as far as the passing ability of Luis is concerned.Unfortunately, in my view passing is now the only redeeming feature of his game.

    1. Grandad. No one has to share my view.. I form an opinion base on what I see. it doesnt matter if ultimately Jesus Christ has a different opinion..I have read many on here who hold the same opinion.,that Guendouzi holds that ball for too long without actually moving the opposition time to organize..

      1. Matteo is the just the sort of player we don’t need if we are to start challenging for titles again.
        Lack of pace !
        Cannot tackle !
        Limited passing range !
        Zero shooting ability !
        I would love to know what he does possess,because if he was so sort after he wouldn’t have been shipped off to some mid table German side .
        Obviously my opinion and I’m not more qualified than some professional managers .

        1. I think you’re being hyperbolic on his lack of ability to pass and tackle – not the best in the world, but he is good. I think most see potential rather than current world class ability.

          One thing he does have is massive hunger to succeed, which increases the likelihood he will realise that potential. Look at Martinelli – contrary to popular belief, he’s not outrageously talented, but his hunger takes him beyond his competition.
          The other thing with Guendouzi is that he actually tried to push his teammates – the sort of thing Vieira or Roy Keane would do. Another reason to think twice before pushing him out

        2. I have to agree. Guendouzi isn’t great. He’s slow, can’t dribble, doesn’t offer much going forward and only fair defensively. His go-to move is shield the ball with his body and dive when he feels contact. Personally, I don’t rate him and doubt he is good enough to be a squad player. Simply not athletic or talented enough. We need top level.

  9. In two minds about AMN. He doesn’t give us anything going forward because his passing is atrocious. At the same time I think he should not be a fullback because he is often beaten for pace and has to then risk a booking. However he has grit so I would like to see him in a similar role as what Coquiln or Firmini played for us ,breaking down opposition moves and feeding the more creative ball players.

    1. Joe. S “Often beaten for pace”? By who ? I have seen no one beat him often for pace. I think you must be referring to the wrong player, as AMN certainly does NOT lack pace!

  10. JoeS, excuse me but have you ever seen AMN play.He may be caught out of position ,and have to track back, but one thing he definitely does not lack, is pace.

    1. Quicker than Bellerin over 50 metres and has a great recovery tackle.
      I’ve noticed in one of his recent midfield roles he does get into the opposing penalty area as often as possible.
      It will be a big mistake to sell him at less than £50 million.

    2. Ok he’s the fastest man on the block. It must be a position thing. He is more dogged that. Bellerin but he’s a crappy fullback. He will do his utmost to breakdown the counter attack but not through poise and skill which he is seriously deficient in. For all his effort he too often has to concede a corner,or risk a card for some clumsy foul. But I would persevere with him in midfield,providing of course he is surrounded by more creative players.

  11. This guy literally played in every position in our team and he didn’t mind and every time he played he did his best or tried to do something, instead of sending him away, keep him and give him the chance to play in his regular position.

  12. AMN has potential. However he is careless with the ball and lacks the discipline to play RB.LB or in the midfield.

    It will be to his advantage if he played for a coach with experience to help him reach his potential. That said, I’d rather see him play than Wallock.

    Call it coincidence but he was dropped out of the rotation when he made the comment about Ozil.
    That move has Guardiola written all over it.

  13. Sell sell.
    I don’t see this hype people keep heaping on AMN. Has seen 4 managers and I am yet to see this amazing player that most keep going on about season after season.
    The way people talk about Guendouzi you might be led to believe that he is some sort of Fabregas. I liked him a lot when he first burst onto the scene but the more I watched him the more average he became. People are just desperate for anything right now. Some people are even calling for Wenger to be brought back. Some are now even reminiscing about Giroud. Heard some suggesting Fat Sam (Big Sam) to be brought in. 😊

    It’s crazy town at the club right now. We are struggling as a club, things are looking absolutely bleak and a lot of fellow gooners feel like they are drowning, clutching and reaching for anything to hold on, a strand of grass must look like a rope or chain that our drowning desperate selves can hold on to save us.

    As they say, it’s not the best advise to for one to make decisions when under stress / depression. Take a deep breathe and start thinking logically.

    Wenger, Giroud, Big Sam, AMN, Ozil, Guendouzi, Sokratis, Saliba, Mustafi etc aint coming back to save us.

  14. The possibility is there, it is not going to be the first major mistake we’ve made, neither will it be the last. That is why we are where we are at this point in time. He is the most versatile player we have at the moment so “NO”
    He should not be sold to any club.

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