Arsenal have confirmed that Ainsley Maitland-Niles has joined West Bromwich Albion on loan for the rest of the season.
The 23-year-old was keen on securing a loan move this month as he wanted to play regularly in order to give himself the best chance of being a part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championship. The England boss is a big admirer of Maitland-Niles and handed him his debut last year but has made it clear that he will only select players who are getting regular game time at club level.
After playing a crucial role in Arsenal’s FA Cup victory last season, the Englishman was heavily linked with a move away from the club. Wolves had a £20 million bid rejected for the player and it was expected that he would leave. Manager Mikel Arteta made it clear that he wanted the Arsenal academy graduate to stay at the club and the 23-year-old remained at the Emirates. Many expected this season to be a big one for Maitland-Niles.
Unfortunately, he has not gotten sufficient game time this season. He has made 21 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions in the 2020/21 campaign but has started just five times in the Premier League.
A host of clubs including Newcastle, Southampton and Leicester were interested in Maitland-Niles but it was West Brom who won the race for his signature. He is expected to miss out on the Baggies’ Premier League game against Sheffield United this week but will likely make his debut against Arsenal’s fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend.
On Maitland-Niles, Arteta said:
“Ainsley is a very talented player and we are proud of his hard work and development with us. This decision to go on loan to West Bromwich Albion for the rest of this season is to support Ainsley and his growth further. He will be working at a very good club in the Premier League and we all wish him the best of luck during his time at the Hawthorns.”
Technical director Edu Gaspar said:
“We wish Ainsley the best of luck for his time with West Bromwich Albion. He deserves the opportunity to play consistently, which is what he needs for his club and international career ambitions and we fully support him with that.”
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