Crystal Palace are reportedly interested in bringing West Bromwich Albion loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles to Selhurst Park this summer, according to the Mirror.
With limited opportunities in Arsenal’s midfield, Maitland-Niles apparently made the decision in January to join West Bromwich Albion in the hope of more game time in the Premier League.
Since the switch, the Gunners academy graduate has made ten appearances for the Baggies and has impressed during his time at the Hawthorns. Moreover, it appears that a fellow Premier League side are keen to secure his services.
For his performances this season, the 23-year-old has earned a WhoScored rating of 6.57 and hasn’t missed a single minute of action since his arrival in the Black Country, according to WhoScored.
However, does Maitland-Niles have what it takes to succeed in south London?
GIVEMESPORT’s Tom Kelly, Sam Brookes, Jonathan Gorrie and Josh Cole offer their verdicts.
“The future of Palace!
“The south London club currently face one major issue heading into the summer transfer window. At the moment, Palace have the oldest squad in the Premier League with an average age of 28.8 years.
“Looking specifically in the centre of midfield, James McArthur, Luka Milivojevic and Cheikhou Kouyate are all over 30.
“Since his arrival at the Hawthorns, Maitland-Niles has injected some energy and flair into Sam Allardyce’s midfield. There is no reason as to why the 23-year-old couldn’t provide exactly the same to Palace, who are arguably in desperate need of a player of his calibre in the middle of the park.”
“The perfect addition.
“Since joining West Brom, Maitland-Niles has shown that he can operate as a high-class central midfielder. In his ten appearances, the Arsenal man has contributed in both defence and attack and has illustrated that there is a good balance to his game.
“Palace have eased clear of the relegation zone this season, but they now need to show signs of progress moving forwards. By bringing in the Arsenal man on loan, the south Londoners can do exactly that.
“Maitland-Niles – valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt – is the type of player who could spark Palace into life and help them be more than Premier League also-rans.”
“Absolutely. An instant improvement in midfield.
“Granted, his loan spell at West Brom looks likely to end in relegation but the England international has been impressive. According to WhoScored data, his 2.2 tackles per game would see him rank fourth in the Palace squad, while his 1.4 dribbles from central areas cannot be beaten by any of Roy Hodgson’s midfield options.
“At 23 and with a decent level of experience from his time at Arsenal, perhaps he could help add some drive from the middle of the park not seen since Ruben Loftus-Cheek.”
“Although it would be naïve to suggest that Palace do not need to bolster their squad this summer, a move for Maitland-Niles would highlight a lack of ambition by owner Steve Parish.
“Since joining West Bromwich Albion on loan from Arsenal, the midfielder has lacked consistency despite featuring regularly for Sam Allardyce’s side.
“Currently averaging a WhoScored match rating of 6.57 which is a worse total than what Palace midfielder’s Eberechi Eze and James McArthur have managed to record in the Premier League, there is no guarantee that Maitland-Niles would be an upgrade on the club’s existing options.
“Taking this into this consideration, it may be worth the Eagles focusing on signing a player this summer who could potentially take the club to new heights instead of taking the safe option by drafting in Maitland-Niles.”