Arsenal think Ainsley Maitland-Niles should’ve picked Southampton over West Bromwich Albion, according to David Ornstein.
The young defender picked Sam Allardyce’s men over the south coast outfit after being guaranteed more playing time in his preferred position, central midfield.
Speaking on the Ornstein and Chapman podcast, the famed journalist claimed Ralp Hasenhuttl’s team were making calls overnight to get an answer before deadline day.
Ornstein said: “They very quickly came to an agreement with Arsenal, and it really did suit Arsenal, they think and they still think he should have gone there and Southampton were wanting him, they were pushing, they were calling overnight and asking for an answer before deadline day.”
Was West Brom a good move for Maitland-Niles?
It’s interesting to hear the club attempted to push Maitland-Niles towards Southampton, a club who wanted to use the 23-year-old as a back-up full-back. If anything the north London outfit should’ve been pushed more towards the Hawthorns Stadium, where he is more likely to feature regularly.
After a promising end to last season, whereby the defender started in the FA Cup final win over Chelsea, Maitland-Niles’ career has taken a sideways step this campaign. The lack of starts in recent months seems to be hurting his chances of getting into England’s European Championship squad, hence his move to the Premier League strugglers.
There is a bonus in all of this, however, as Maitland-Niles builds up more game time to potentially force his way into Arteta’s plans for next season. There are spots up for grabs across defence and midfield given the shocking level of performances this season.
You’d hope the £16.2m-rated Hale End academy product can force his way into Arteta’s plans for next year. However, his lack of game time, could well force him to leave the Emirates Stadium come next summer.