Brighton are reportedly interested in a summer move for versatile Arsenal player Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The Evening Standard reported that the 22-year-old has attracted interest from the Seagulls, with the right-sided player apparently keen on leaving the Emirates Stadium despite having three years left on his current contract and despite Gunners manager Mikel Arteta wanting him to stay.
Maitland-Niles, who is valued at £13.05m by TransferMarkt, has risen through the academy ranks at Arsenal to feature nearly 100 times for their first team, although he has never been able to command a regular starting position at the Emirates.
He has played mainly as a right-sided midfielder during his career so far, which he has publicly cited as his preferred position, although he has regularly been deployed at right-back this season by Arteta. This has perhaps led to the 22-year-old rarely being able to contribute to goals – he has only scored three times and provided five assists in 98 appearances for the Gunners.
Would you like to have Maitland-Niles at Brighton?
Where Maitland-Niles is strong, though, is in terms of winning the ball back for his team, averaging 2.1 successful tackles per game, and being economical in possession, with a respectable passing success rate of 81.8% (as per WhoScored).
He could help to fill a void in Brighton’s squad in that they have a sparsity of right-sided midfielders, with nominal central players such as Aaron Mooy and Pascal Gross occasionally shifting out to that side. By contrast, Graham Potter has plenty of depth in the right-back area with Tariq Lamptey and Martin Montoya as bespoke options, while Bernardo and Adam Webster can cover there if needed (as per TransferMarkt).
A potential move to the Amex Stadium could be mutually beneficial for Maitland-Niles and Brighton. The Seagulls have a shortage of right-sided midfielders, while the 22-year-old would likely get more game-time in a midfield rather than a right-back role given the make-up of Potter’s squad.
Also, with the Arsenal man able to operate in a variety of positions, his versatility could come in very useful for Albion if he makes the move to Sussex.
Brighton fans, do you think Maitland-Niles will come to the Amex this summer? Give us your views in the comments section below!
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