Date: 9th December 2020 at 8:30am
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Kevin Campbell has claimed that Mikel Arteta is trying to tie down Ainsley Maitland-Niles to a new long-term contract.

The England international was close to leaving the club in the summer transfer window with Wolverhampton Wanderers firmly interested in the academy product. However, the Spaniard managed to keep the midfielder/defender at the club.

In an interview with Football Insider, the Highbury man claimed that you don’t let England internationals leave the club.

Campbell said: “I hear Mikel Arteta is trying to convince him to stay and sign a new contract because he is now an England international. Which clubs let England internationals go? You do not do that.” (via Football Insider)

Should Maitland-Niles start in central midfield more often?

Yes

Yes

No

No

I’m not sure how Arteta thinks it’s best to convince a player to sign a new contract to remain at the club, but, I find it’s best if you actually give the player time on the pitch if you want him to stay. In the summer, the former Manchester City coach did his best to keep the player in N5 and for what?

Maitland-Niles has barely featured in the Premier League side in recent weeks with the Spanish coach clearly backing an out of form and out of sorts Hector Bellerin. The Spain international has proved an incredible flop in recent weeks and can barely take a legal throw on let alone defend or attack. It seems Tony Cascarino agrees with me as the pundit claimed Bellerin is ‘not a good right-back’.

Given the Englishman’s fewer starts this campaign, it’s best to compare the two players at their best last season. The 23-year-old averaged more tackles, interceptions, fewer fouls and was dribbled past less than his Spanish teammate.

At his best, Maitland-Niles proves to be a better option at right-back. But, whether he actually gets an opportunity to impress this season is another matter. I have already expressed my concerns that the £16.2m-rated academy product may well have to leave the club to reach his potential, a potential hammer blow for Arsenal.