Maitland-Niles was ‘close’ to joining Everton last month on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy, only for Arsenal to pull the plug.
The player subsequently took to social media to express his frustration with the situation.
The 24-year-old, who has two years left on his contract at The Emirates Stadium, is valued at £14.4million by Transfermarkt.
Maitland-Niles has his admirers, with Stuart Pearce describing his form as ‘outstanding’ before he was loaned to West Bromwich Albion midway through last season.
Maitland-Niles has apparently been given assurances that he’s part of Mikel Arteta’s plans this season, but Everton continue to lurk.
The expectation is that they will ‘test Arsenal’s resolve’ at the turn of the year, especially if the Englishman’s game-time remains limited.
“Everton are planning a January move for Ainsley Maitland-Niles after their summer bid was blocked,” ESPN’s Olley said.
“He was given assurances by Arteta over frustration at lack of opportunities at Arsenal but Everton remain keen.”
Significantly, the report also claims that Everton intend to pursue a permanent deal this time, rather than an initial loan.
Everton need cover and competition for Seamus Coleman, and Maitland-Niles can provide that. Eight years the Irishman’s junior, he might also be a potential long-term successor.
He can also play further forward and in central midfield roles, of course, and that would make him a great asset to Rafael Benitez’s Blues.
One would think Arsenal will see sense and cash in – keeping an unhappy player as his contract ticks down is simply poor business – and the Englishman’s versatility will add depth in multiple positions at Goodison Park.
In other news, Everton fans were buzzing as this news emerged.
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