Ainsley Maitland-Niles set to join Lyon after Arsenal departure

English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles is set to join Ligue 1 club Lyon after Arsenal released him at the end of last term, according to The Beautiful Game Podcast.

Respected transfer expert Fabrizio Romano also confirmed the update, with the Hale End academy graduate signing a four-year deal.

Maitland-Niles is very excited by the challenge and talks are progressing between the club and player.

The 25-year-old left Arsenal in June after a 20-year association with the North London club.

The five-cap England international had loan spells at Ipswich Town, West Bromwich Albion, AS Roma and Southampton during the nine seasons he spent with the Gunners first-team.

Lyon are getting a versatile player with pace and energy in Maitland-Niles, as he can play as a winger, central midfielder, full-back, and wing-back.

He made his debut aged 17 in a Champions League match against Galatasaray in December 2014 and went on to feature in 132 games across all competitions for Arsenal.

Maitland-Niles was a key player for the Gunners from 2017 to 2021, making 111 appearances before spending the second half of the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons on loan at West Brom and Roma, respectively, spending the whole of last season on loan with the Saints.

He won the FA Cup and two FA Community Shields with Arsenal and was part of the Roma squad that won the inaugural Europa Conference League last year.

Maitland-Niles’ versatility did more harm than good as he did not quite agree with both managers Arsene Wenger and Mikel Arteta as to where his best position is.

Arsenal believed he was best deployed as a full-back, but he always had a strong desire to play in midfield and it will be interesting to see where he features in at Lyon.

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