Former Premier League Golden Boot winner Kevin Phillips is unsure about the prospect of Leeds United signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer.
Sunday’s 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United leaves the Whites sitting in ninth place in the Premier League table following a hugely impressive first year back in the top flight. Leeds could be looking at a number of additions in the next transfer window, however, in order for Marcelo Bielsa to keep improving his squad.
Maitland-Niles has been linked with a move to Elland Road recently, with the youngster currently on loan at West Brom from Arsenal.
Phillips unsure about Leeds signing Maitland-Niles
Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips admitted he isn’t sure that the midfielder would be the right fit at Leeds, with Bielsa already blessed with options in the middle of the park. The ex-Sunderland striker said:
“It does surprise me a little bit. He hasn’t been fantastic at West Brom, he’s had the odd good game here and there.
“For Ainsley, he undoubtedly has good talent. Wherever he goes next season he has to play regularly. Credit to the kid, when he came to West Brom he wanted to play and he has, he has progressively got better.
“You just wonder where he gets in that Leeds side at the moment, the midfield area possibly.
“Maybe that right back spot, I don’t know. I’d be surprised if [Marcelo] Bielsa went for him, he’s got the legs but he’s more of an industrious player than a technical one.”
Transfer Tavern take
While Maitland-Niles perhaps doesn’t look ready to be a regular starter for Leeds, he could still be worth a punt, such is his quality. West Brom manager Sam Allardyce has described aspects of his game as ‘excellent’ and he already has five caps to his name for England.
He has averaged 1.9 tackles per game since joining the Baggies, a figure which suggests that he could be a solid partner for, or alternative to, Kalvin Phillips in Leeds’ midfield – the 25-year-old is the only Whites midfielder with a better tackling average than Maitland-Miles.
Granted, it hasn’t yet worked out for the 23-year-old at Arsenal, hence his loan move to The Hawthorns, but he possesses quality, versatility and long-term worth; and working under Bielsa could see him go up another gear.
In other news, one Leeds player is being tipped to make a summer exit – find out who it is here.
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