Arsenal fans are currently extremely concerned in the Transfer Tavern due to the real threat that Aaron Ramsey could miss out on Sunday’s cup final against Manchester City.
In 2018, Ramsey has been limited to making just four appearances for the Gunners because of his recurring groin problem. In one of those four games whilst on the pitch Ramsey dazzled fans with a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 5-1 demolishing of Big Sam’s Everton. Since then though, the 27-year-old has been unable to feature in the North London derby loss or their Europa League round of 32 tie.
Although Arsenal’s season has been largely unsuccessful up until this point, a cup final is an exciting element in a team’s season, even if it’s just the Carabao Cup.
With Ramsey’s position leaving a big void in the Gunners side, it begs the question on who is the right player to replace him in such an important game for Arsene Wenger.
So, please step forward Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Having only played once in his normal central-midfield role once this season, (with that coming in the last game against Ostersund) should the 20-year-old been shown the confidence by manager Arsene Wenger to start in the final?
Whilst being rated at £4.5 m, (courtesy of Transfermarkt) Niles has impressed during appearances made this season and with his first trial in midfield against Ostersund going well, he should be in with a shout of starting against the league-leaders Man City. After all, Maitland Niles is extremely athletic and could occupy the midfield role of getting up and down the pitch with ease as well as learning from tough-tackling midfield partner, Granit Xhaka.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles is far from the perfect player yet but with the backing of players and staff, the Englishman has the ability to really progress into a top player for the Gunners. He has proven that he can even play well out of position, so put him in his preferred position and we could see a new side to the youngster.
Arsene Wenger may not be the biggest risk-taking manager but with the concern that Aaron Ramsey is out of action, why shouldn’t Niles be in with a chance of making the cup final team?
Is it too early for such a big occasion for Ainsley Maitland-Niles or does he have the ability to prove the doubters wrong? We’re certainly backing him.