Unai Emery has given many of Arsenal’s squad players a chance this season, but one man that will have been disappointed by his lack of action is young Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Now, granted, the 21-year-old has had injury problems, and so he’s been unavailable for much of the season – but he’s been back fit for a little while now, yet Emery has failed to offer him any real opportunities.
Despite problems at left-back, in particular, Maitland-Niles has continually been ignored by Emery, and unfortunately, that’s not looking likely to change anytime soon.
The emergence of Arsenal’s midfield duo of Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira has left Emery with little choice but to persist with the pair. That has naturally meant that Maitland-Niles hasn’t really been considered for a role in that position for much of the campaign, and though you can’t blame Emery for that, it’s still another reason for Maitland-Niles to get out of there.
He’s also capable of playing in defence, of course, and some would argue he’s able to make an even bigger impact there. However, Arsenal’s defence has improved lately too, and Emery likely sees no reason for a change.
The reality is that Maitland-Niles has largely been forgotten at the Emirates. The team have seriously impressed in his absence, and it’s going to be remarkably difficult for him to get the chance that he needs in order to prove himself to the Emirates brass.
Unfortunately for him, the only way for him to be able to prove himself could come at a cost of leaving the club. Arsenal won’t want him to depart permanently, but a short-term loan would get him out of Unai Emery’s clutches, and it could give him the chance he needs to flourish.
Make no mistake, if he can get back to his best, Arsenal will come crawling back – and he’ll return a better player for it.