Transfers

Leicester eyeing last-ditch bid to sign Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Jan 31, 2021, 3:30 PM GMT
Maitland-Niles is eager for regular first team football
Maitland-Niles is eager for regular first team football | Michael Regan/Getty Images
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Leicester have joined the race to sign in-demand Arsenal utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Maitland-Niles is keen to depart the Gunners after falling down the pecking order in recent weeks. The 23-year-old has not featured in any of his side's last three Premier League games and wants to start playing regularly to maximise his chances of making the England squad this summer.

Maitland-Niles was a target for Wolves last summer
Maitland-Niles was a target for Wolves last summer | Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

His chances of forcing his way back into the first-team setup at Arsenal appear slim, with Bukayo Saka in fine form and Gabriel Martinelli back from injury.

Interest in him is rife with 90min reporting that West Brom, Southampton and Newcastle are all keen on him earlier this week. According to the Daily Mirror, Leicester have now thrown their hat into the ring with the Foxes eager to sign him on loan with an option to buy in the summer.

Maitland-Niles has endured a stop-start career in north London for some time, thanks to a combination of niggling injuries and inconsistent selection. That said, he did play every minute of the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final during Arsenal's FA Cup win last season.

He has also managed to force his way into Gareth Southgate's last few Three Lions squads. While not always getting onto the pitch, he has racked up three caps playing in several different positions.

Despite frequently being used as a full-back, he is understood to see his future in midfield. This could suit him well to Leicester's current needs with Maitland-Niles able to slot into one of the Foxes' two wide midfield roles, while also providing cover for their in-form defenders. It is thought that Southampton's desire to use him as a full-back limits their chances of getting a deal over the line.

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