BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton has said in his Daily Mail column that Arsenal would be better off keeping Ainsley Maitland-Niles beyond this summer.
The 23-year-old has been linked with a move away from the club with both Wolves and Tottenham touted as possible destinations (The Sun).
Sutton was on co-commentary for Saturday’s win for Arsenal against Liverpool in the curtain-raising Community Shield contest.
The ex-Premier League player was seriously impressed with the Gunners flyer and thinks Mikel Arteta would be wise to keep him around the club.
He told the Daily Mail: “He was pivotal on Saturday – even his penalty was the epitome of cool after I feared I might have given him the commentator’s kiss of death.
“He is such a versatile talent, a diamond, and I do believe Mikel Arteta trusts him. You don’t start him against Liverpool, or in the FA Cup semi-final if that isn’t the case.
“If I was an Arsenal decision-maker, I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get rid of Maitland-Niles. The young man’s versatility is a weapon, as is his pace and the way he reads the game. Arteta would be better off with him than without him.”
Maitland-Niles is certainly doing a decent job of proving to his manager that he wants to continue his career as an Arsenal player.
He played exceptionally well against Liverpool at the weekend during the penalty shootout victory and could now be kept around.
Having come through the ranks at the club he has played 101 times for the club and could become an integral part of the team under Arteta.
As Sutton suggests, every club needs a player like Maitland-Niles who is capable of helping out in both attack and defence.
Arteta has placed his faith in the club’s younger talents and under his management, Maitland-Niles could thrive.
Reports have suggested that the player is valued at £25 million but Arsenal might be better off handing him an opportunity during 2020/21.