‘I’ll kiss Arsenal goodbye’: Ainsley Maitland-Niles makes a stunning public admission as he asks Mikel Arteta to play him or SELL him… and says he’s ‘done enough to have other clubs interested in me’
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent out on loan by Arsenal to West Brom last season
- Maitland-Niles was surplus to requirements during the early stages of last term
- Now the versatile English star has asked Mikel Arteta for clarity over his future
- The 23-year-old has admitted his frustration over his England situation too
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has urged Arsenal to give him ‘clarity’ over his future this summer, insisting it may be time to ‘kiss goodbye’ to his beloved club if they don’t see him as part of their plans next season.
Maitland-Niles was shipped out on loan to West Brom for the second half of last season after he was surplus to requirements under Mikel Arteta, but couldn’t help the Baggies steer clear of relegation.
He is set to return to Arsenal this summer, but he has admitted he is none the wiser about his situation in north London, having not received any contact from Arteta or technical director Edu regarding their plans for him.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has demanded ‘clarity’ from his beloved club Arsenal about his future
The 23-year-old Englishman was surplus to requirements under Mikel Arteta last season
The 23-year-old, who was deployed mostly at right back under Arteta but prefers to play more as a box-to-box midfielder, has since admitted that his time at the club may be coming to an end.
‘If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way,’ Maitland-Niles told the Telegraph. ‘They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me. I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure.’
Maitland-Niles added: ‘I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can get to work with whoever I need to get to work with. Whether that is finding a new club or whether that is carrying on with my training.
‘I would like some kind of indication of what is happening. Where they [Arsenal] see me. If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye. It’s been a long journey but a proud one at that.
Maitland-Niles spent the second half of last season on loan at West Brom from the Gunners
‘Maybe they still want to do something and things could change. If not, there’s always other teams. It would be easier to do it now than waiting for pre-season to kick in and everything is super busy. And they can’t answer their phones because they are doing too much work. You know how the football world works.’
Maitland-Niles was the subject of intense interest last summer from a number of clubs, including Wolves, Newcastle and Brighton.
A move appeared in the pipeline but Arsenal performed a U-turn and kept their youngster, who has been at the club since 2003, following a string of stand-out performances in last season’s FA Cup semi-final and final, and Community Shield triumph over Liverpool.
This impressive form saw him earn his first senior England call-up but all of a sudden, Maitland-Niles found game-time hard to come by early on in the 2020-21 season under Arteta, and soon looked for a move away before West Brom snapped him up.
Maitland-Niles has also been overlooked by England, and missed out on the Euros squad
And while he has admitted his frustration over his Arsenal future, he also revealed his dismay at being overlooked by England in recent times – having subsequently been snubbed for the Euros.
‘It was a difficult one for me to swallow,’ Maitland-Niles, who has five Three Lions caps to his name, added. ‘Because the back end of last season, I put in a couple of performances in the cup, in the final, then after that break we had another final [Community Shield] which led to my England call-up not too long after that. Then a couple of months after that, it all died down, I wasn’t playing anymore … so it was strange, very strange.
‘It was difficult to take. You get called up for England, play regular football for your club, get to an England camp then it all disappears and you’re not playing for either. You don’t really get any contact from either manager, from international stage or club. I was thinking: “What you want me to do now? What am I supposed to do now?”
More to follow…