Crystal Palace have joined the race to sign Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer, as revealed by The Mirror.
What’s the latest transfer news involving Maitland-Niles?
The 23-year-old’s future has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks, with Leeds and Monaco reportedly interested in the utility player following his strong performances for West Brom in 2021.
Now, Palace have added their name into the mix of clubs who could make a move for Maitland-Niles in the upcoming transfer window.
How much is he worth and when does his contract expire?
The England international, who came through Arsenal’s youth setup before making his senior debut in 2014, is valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt.
The Gunners did reject a £20m from Wolves last year, though, indicating that they will be looking for a higher figure this time around.
He has two years remaining on his contract at the Emirates.
What are Maitland-Niles’ stats this season?
Since joining West Brom at the start of the year, Maitland-Niles has been in impressive form.
Maitland-Niles has also demonstrated his strong dribbling skills from central midfield, making 1.4 successful dribbles per match. Once more, this would see him placed inside the top four at the Eagles this season.
What has been said about Maitland-Niles?
In his fledgling career, Maitland-Niles has struggled to cement his spot in central midfield at Arsenal, and was often used in a wing-back role by Mikel Arteta.
However, he has been used in midfield by Sam Allardyce, who praised the youngster last month for his performances in the middle of the park.
As quoted by the Express & Star, Allardyce said: “Ainsley’s game is starting to get better and better. I said to him the other week when he arrived – he was dropped in a full-back role, filling in, which wasn’t his position and he never saw it as his position.
“He wants to play in midfield for us, he’s got the energy to do and he has excellent ability with both feet.
“His overall game I’m very pleased with, hopefully he’ll just get a bit better. He is going to keep playing in midfield for us.”
The perfect signing for Palace’s much-needed transformation?
Palace look set to stay in the Premier League comfortably, as they are currently 11 points above the drop zone. Yet it does seem that their squad is going a little stale. A classic example of this came recently, when they were run ragged by Chelsea in a 4-1 defeat to the Blues at Selhurst Park.
With 11 players out of contract in the summer and the oldest squad age in the Premier League, big changes appear to be in the offing and come the start of next term, we could well see a transformed version of the Eagles. As well as players going out the door, they need to think about who they can bring in to improve the team.
Maitland-Niles could be the perfect addition. The midfielder has the desired balance to his game, as he is able to make tackles to break up opposition attacks, whilst also having a burst of pace and the necessary dribbling skills to take the ball into the final third.
At 23, Maitland-Niles would bring youth and infectious energy which would likely lift the Palace squad, who have sometimes seemed to be going through the motions this year, as we saw against Chelsea and at home to Liverpool earlier in the campaign when they lost 7-0.
Palace fans will want to see progression this summer, and by signing Maitland-Niles they will be getting the type of player who would give the squad a younger, more energetic and more offensive-minded feel.