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Ainsley Maitland-Niles demands ‘clarity’ from Mikel Arteta on his future and warns he could ‘kiss Arsenal goodbye’


Maitland-Niles moved to the Hawthorns in January (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has insisted that he is prepared to ‘kiss Arsenal goodbye’ this summer should he not figure in Mikel Arteta’s first-team plans.

The Hale End academy graduate fell down the pecking order at the Emirates not long into the 2020/21 campaign and was subsequently allowed to join West Brom on loan in the January transfer window.

Maitland-Niles, who was primarily used as a full-back by Arteta, played in his preferred midfield position under Sam Allardyce at the Hawthorns, featuring regularly for the now relegated Baggies.

Arteta used the academy graduate sparingly (Photo by Lee Smith – Pool/Getty Images)

This summer, the Gunners are planning a squad overhaul following their second consecutive eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

And Maitland-Niles has demanded that Arteta makes a decision over his role in the side promptly so he can either commit to Arsenal, or look elsewhere.

‘If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way,’ Maitland-Niles told The Telegraph.

‘They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me. I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure.

‘I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can get to work with whoever I need to get to work with.

‘Whether that is finding a new club or whether that is carrying on with my training. I would like some kind of indication of what is happening. Where they [Arsenal] see me.

‘If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye. It’s been a long journey but a proud one at that. Maybe they still want to do something and things could change. If not, there’s always other teams.

‘It would be easier to do it now than waiting for pre-season to kick in and everything is super busy. And they can’t answer their phones because they are doing too much work. You know how the football world works.’

‘It was a difficult one for me to swallow,’ he added on his lack of playing time this season.

‘Because the back end of last season, I put in a couple of performances in the cup, in the final, then after that break we had another final [Community Shield] which led to my England call-up not too long after that. Then a couple of months after that, it all died down, I wasn’t playing anymore … so it was strange, very strange.

‘I went from having everything at my feet to everything taken away from me. I was trying to understand it on my own. But sometimes it’s not for me to understand, it’s for me to keep working hard, to keep doing what I do and I have to let other people understand it for me.

‘It was difficult to take. You get called up for England, play regular football for your club, get to an England camp then it all disappears and you’re not playing for either. You don’t really get any contact from either manager, from international stage or club. I was thinking: “What you want me to do now? What am I supposed to do now?”‘


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