What next for Maitland-Niles? Return to Arsenal as right-back?

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was very keen to go out on loan this January – A; to get some regular football in the hope of a call-up to the England squad for the Euros, and B; to try and get to play in his favoured midfield position, which he is simply not going to get under Arteta at Arsenal, or he certainly hasn’t had so far.

So, him and Arteta are going to have some serious chats this summer as to whether he has a future at Arsenal or not, and see what his options are.

There may well be the chance to stay at West Brom where he has been on loan since January, but as he couldn’t manage to help the Baggies to avoid relegation, it is also unlikely that Sam Allardyce will still be there next season. But Big Sam has joined the debate and given him some advice on what to do if he cannot get a place in the Arsenal midfield. Allardyce told the Mirror: “Ainsley’s given us everything he has got.

“He came to join the fight – you have to admire that – he knew my idea was to play him where he wanted to play and where he’s always wanted to play – in midfield.

“And my words to Ainsley were this: You’ll play in midfield as long as you continue to play well. It’s up to you whether you will hold on to that position.

“There’s just one thing missing and it’s something he just needs to work on – it’s the same with Connor Gallagher – they need to score more goals. They need to chip in.

“They’re up-and-down players, they can get box-to-box, they can get on the edge of the box, in the box, they can get chances – but if they do, they need to improve their finishing.

“It’s the same for every midfielder, or every attacking midfielder like them, they have to add some goals.

“Overall, Ainsley has done the job we asked him to. He’s played where we have asked him, he’s played where he wanted to. He’s made a big contribution. But there is just one thing missing: Those goals that we ultimately needed.

“It wasn’t just about your front three but you need two or three each from your midfielders – and that could have made a big difference to us.”

So that doesn’t sound like his loan spell with impress Arteta, as Arsenal are also in dire need of midfielders that can score goals (Joe Willock anyone?). The Arsenal legend Michael Thomas, in an interview with CaughtOffside, thinks that AMN could stay at Arsenal, but should be careful what he wishes for: “Maitland-Niles is a player I really like. Arsenal DNA and he has quality. I think he believes in himself playing central midfield going forward and I am not sure if any of the “bigger” clubs feel that.”

“He has a terrific future but I think right-back is a position he can make his own. I was a CM that also played games at RB. The role doesn’t differ too much, especially in today’s game.”

So, what do you think AMN could be doing next season? Stck or sell?


  1. Maybe he should try his hand at management. I mean I know he hasn’t been no2 to pep but give the guy a chance. He has potential and we should trust the process!;)))

  2. I think Thomas is right – really commit to the RB position and he’ll still have work to do, but could go far. Continue to push for CM and I think he could struggle for a long time.

    1. 👍 That’s what Alladyce has tried to tell AMN; play where the manager thinks you can contribute most to the Team.

  3. If most of our senior deep-lying midfielders leave, we can try him in midfield first. Then it’ll depend on his performance

      1. He doesn’t score many goals because he always played as defender, but hopefully it’ll change after he gets his chance in midfield

        1. hes played enough games to know hes not good enough ?
          three managers saw him as not good enough to play in one of our worst midfield of all time
          if he haunt been good enough at West Brom why would he be be good enough here ?
          Whos that fan who said he was better then Kante lol?

        2. I think Admin Pat meant that sarcastically. – As in all we expect our midfield (attacking midfield) to do is score goals however good they are in other departments.

          (Ozil comes to mind).

  4. Me think he gave a good advice
    AMN can make RB his own
    He has the pace and the power to play that role. He’s too fixated on playing in midfield and AW, UE and now MA don’t trust him in that position
    Ashley Cole was once a striker so I don’t know what is wrong with AMN really

    Now MA should bring back Willock, also better than Ceballos who don’t score goals

    1. He should look at Lauren’s career. Bought as a midfielder. At the time petit left. And ended up making RB position his for years.

  5. He Should be sold alongside Willock, Nketiah and others. Thank God Willian is set to leave too.
    David Luiz is one I’ll miss. Apart from the red cards and a few hiccups, his time with us is a solid 8. That’s if you choose not to be biased anyways.

    NB. I saw the positive interactions on my article, and I gotta say thanks to everyone for sharing their views, and for those who asked me to write more. I’ll try to come up with more when I have something quality to write.

    1. Is the departure of Willian definite Eddie?.If so you have cheered me up.As for AMN, sell.

      1. Grandad, I don’t know but I keep reading he’s set to leave with Luiz. That Arsenal are waiting for an offer for him

        1. its that time of the year where Eddie pretends to have sources lol
          I was proven right last summer
          I’m out lol

          1. Dude get a life… It was Fabrizio Romano who said Willian is set to leave alongside Luiz, and I said I read it.
            You can keep yapping about last summer, but everyone’s moved on from it

          2. we should always learn from the past
            Of course you would like us to forget about last summer
            so you can again trick people and waste their time with click-bait article
            long as we dont have another summer of that ill stop yapping lol

          3. AMN is 10 times the player Celbilous and Odegaurd are, what is the point off having a youth system like ours, where we should have the best young players coming through, and given time. I am personally sick of English attitude towards our kids!!! With “hes to young, hes got no expirance, he wont be consistent”… Then we go all around the world giving it “oh look at there wonderkid” At 120 million (J Sancho, E Halland and Amad Diallo, the latter £37 million 18 years old, ect ect ect)!!! WHY ARE THEY WONDERKIDS, AT THEYS PRICES???? BECAUSE THE REST OFF THE WORLD SAYS “IF THERE GOOD ENOUGH THERE OLD ENOUGH” AND THEY GIVE THEM A CHANCE, AND A RUN OFF GAMES TO PROVE THEIR WORTH!!!!!! I’ll prove my point.
            J Sancho left Man City, cos they said, “hes a kid, no expirance not consistent”, so he left for Dortmund, got a chance and made the right wing forward position his own for club and Country and now, Man Utd are offering £90 million Dortmund want £120 million 😂😂😂.
            Second part off proof,
            Byern Munich offered Chelsea £35 million for
            C H Odoi, Chelsea said no played him a few games untill he signed a new contract, then dropped him, and yes hes had a few injuries, but hes never been given 10 to 15 games in his position to show and prove his potential ability that, ONLY ONE OF THE BEST TEAMS IN EUROPEAN AND WORLD FOOTBALL SEEN… I rest my case.
            Sorry, folks rant over.

  6. I like AMN as a player, he gave us good service at right back but I would have liked to have seen him given a go in midfield this season, however unfortunately I think both opportunities now passed

    1. Absolutely, same. But arteta had a better “process”, playing instead a loanee that does not want to be here. Honestly he infuriated me letting in on the bench before he left while he had make a good game in the UEL…

  7. AMN is a versatile player .He has the quality, energy,fight ,talent and passion that is lacking in arsenal.It is always a long unpredictable season it is wise to keep proven and experienced utilities like AMN for team performance consistency.Pls. let’s manage these players and add more qualities where we can(we don’t like to spend) to help team understanding which is poor at arsenal.We can’t keep selling our quality for cheap and buying shambles all
    the time.Checkout the teams that want to buy him….let’s be sensible for once.

    1. Agree Ken and also agree with the sentiments of Ray 62; Arsenal continually down rates it’s own Academy talent, although I think Ray unfairly down rates Odegaard.

      1. Sorry pal, its only my opinion that Odegaurd isn’t good enough! For all the hype around him. He takes to many touches, and slows down our fast counter attack. ESR knows what he’s going to do with the ball b4 he gets it, it could be a 1-2 pass from 5yards to 20yrds or he might take 1 touch and moves it on fast, and he makes things happen.
        That was all my point was pal 😁

  8. After being illegible to play against us last week, M-N has not regained his place against Liverpool today.

    This in a poor, relegated West Brom’ side – but he’s good enough for Arsenal ………. nah..

    He will be used to raise funds.

  9. See what clubs come in for him and what they offer for his services – I’ve always believed he is an important squad player and IF Bellerin leaves, the RB spot could be his…. certainly better than Soares.

    1. Question is, with limited funds to rebuild the squad, AMN at RB isn’t the end of the world. If the young man would commit to the position, I think he could have a positive impact.

      Honestly, I’d much rather see AMN starting at RB than another year of Bellerin at RB.

      1. Absolutely… Plus the homegrown status…. Keeping him makes sense, unless he is stubborn about his position. Hopefully arteta and edu learnt from their mistakes of last year : loans with no buying option, older players coming to retire… These youngsters are hungry and want to prove. But need playing time. The only one that won’t make it is nketiah. He tries, he’s decent, but he is unfortunately not the level we need.

    1. He should be kept. Hope he would be ready to play RB. Chambers could also be tried by arteta in midfield. He played there at Fulham. At least some tries next to partey. But both should remain at arsenal.

  10. Time to move on,had chances,not good enough for us to move to where we want to be,fresh challenge could see him release his potential,which we’ve seen in glimpses,somewhere like a Brighton,where he could excel,then move on to a bigger club again.May be a buy clause could be a good idea or sell on clause.

    1. had very few chances since last year run when he delivered. Should be given another year at arsenal after that loan. We have room for Soares, Ceballos, Willian, nketiah, average players. We should have a seat for him. Still room for improvement, performed well in cups last year

  11. So he’s not good enough to be picked in a relegated WBA team today, if he was a WBA player and not our player on loan to them would we be clamoring for us to sign him, we would all be saying no he’s not good enough.

  12. Perhaps Big Sam is already planning for next season, with the players he knows are his?
    A little like MA with Ceballos and Odegaard…. OH but wait!!!!

  13. He came on for last 15.

    Now I’m going to be very harsh here, and I know you have to pick up the pace of the game- but.

    Out of possession M-N went to the right back position.

    The very position this article debates.

    Suddenly Liverpool were getting in behind down that flank.

    M-N “notable actions” – caught badly out of position twice, gave the ball away cheaply twice.

    Ring any bells ??

    You cannot be serious.

  14. This guy is willing to play anywhere. But MA kept playing Bellerin again and again as RB!

    In EL he was doing fine with Nelson and Willock .. just remember this!

    1. Thank you for saying dis!!
      Even Reiss Nelson has huge potentials like AMN!!
      I wonder why some Arsenal fans can’t see dis!!
      Some still make cases for d Ineffective Pepe, who has got chances in 2 seasons now..😕😕

      1. Yes but he is homegrown while pepe cost 72m. Same apply to willian coming out of the bench instead of him or balogun. William cost 35m over 3 years 🤷🏻‍♂️… They could not freeze willing on the bench, it would definitely shut the door for suitors while you can freeze a AMN.

    2. Wasn’t Bellerin on bench for 1st leg semi Final
      Then second leg he keeps clean sheet and puts in cross that Auba heads against post?
      So if you kept a clean sheet in the leg you start and put a cross a the plate for striker thats all you can ask for from right back
      In other words , people blame him because hes an easy scapegoat
      As for Nelson and Wiock ….they should be doing good in Europa against Dundalk !
      Every time they been given a chance for Arsenal in Prem they let the moment pass them by

      1. Yes but Daniel did they get that much chances in PL ?How many got pepe or William because they are costly players ? How many very poor displays from Auba this year too ???? The only youngster that got lot of chances and where there will probably be not that much improvement IMO is nketiah

  15. Bring him back to play in our Midfield pls!!
    He can be second choice to Yres Bissouma in d midfield..
    Then we have Partey, Bissouma and Joe Willock as our 3-man midfield!!
    AMN can be a substitute!!
    Xhaka and Dani Ceballos should be SOLD!!
    We should never Sell Maitland-Niles! We will regret it!!
    Will be another Emi Martinez case!!

    1. Not good enough to be 1st choice right back defensively hes average only a squad player in my opinion and would not hesitate to sell him if a club offered 15-20 million I would snap there hands off!!

      1. nothing tangible ? Cup win ? Community shield. Did not he get an English call up ? He may not be a future superstar i agree, but these were not nothing

        1. But he said “Never sell AM-N. We will regret it”.IF a fan truly feels we should NEVER sell a run of the mill player, which is all he is, then that is nothing tangible to hang on to and hence my correct post above.
          Vinnie 2000 was way overhyping a merely moderate Prem player and that is foolish.

  16. AM-N has showm he is just an ordinary Prem standard and nothing special at all He is now 23 and has stalled at his natural level. Not a player to move us forward. If he were, he would have shown our last three managers, none of whom played him as a regular and none in midfield, except on odd occasions.
    I’d sell for whatever he will fetch, as simply put he is not worth keeping. At one time he loooked as though he might kick on but he has not. HAS HE!


    1. To be fair he would be an ideal utility man. Home-grown which we have to have, knows the club and can play in a variety of positions to a decent level. Trouble is he absolutely refuses to do this so might as well cash in. Don’t think it helps that he seems motivated by the national team and England are weakest in the CM/DM area with Henderson likely dropping out soon enough as well.

  17. I don’t rate AMN, his concentration is poor. We do need a midfield player, so sell AMN and try to sign Emi Buendia, a very dynamic, strong and skilful, player.

  18. Keep reading the word “potential” in relation to AMN.

    Back in 2019, he went to Ipswich on loan to prepare him for bigger things at our place.

    2021 see’s him WBA on loan.

    THREE consecutive managers have not played him to any large degree.

    At his age (23) he is way past “potential” stage and should be delivering.

    You cannot base a players worthiness to play for Arsenal (going forward, particularly at this point in time) on a couple of games in a F.A. cup winning run – and that of performances I would expect from any player being called into the side.

    Has he featured since …….NO !

    I would place a hefty wager that most of the hyperbole, from some on here are from folk who have not actually followed this guy’s career.

    “One of the best players at Arsenal” “Better than Odegaard” on this thread alone – and I’ve seen worse on here !

    AM-N is now at the crossroads of said career, which needs to be pitched at the right level – and that is NOT Arsenal.

    The WORSE thing he could do is to STAY.

    He will not feature in any meaningful games, and his career will stagnate further.

    To say we are embarking on a rebuilding programme and re-introduce the level of A M-N into the side, is a complete mockery !

    Still, his “lovely smile” improves the team calendar I suppose.

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