Joe Willock loan spell could see Newcastle United sign Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles
According to Chronicle Live, the success of Joe Willock’s loan spell at Newcastle United could now see Steve Bruce’s side agree a deal with Arsenal for midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer.
Bruce intends to at least test the Gunners’ resolve with an approach to retain Willock after the midfielder produced a magnificent run of form after arriving on Tyneside in the winter, but may struggle to meet the north London outfit’s £20million (Telegraph) valuation.
Maitland-Niles also departed the Emirates Stadium on a temporary deal on Deadline Day in February to join West Bromwich Albion, but was unable to help the Baggies avoid relegation under Sam Allardyce and will now return to Arsenal.
Newcastle had rivalled West Brom, Leicester City and Southampton for Maitland-Niles on Deadline Day (talkSPORT), as the versatile talent sought to secure more regular game time in midfield having been deployed as a utility man by Mikel Arteta for much of the season.
As Arteta now expects Willock to return to the capital and contend for a place in his squad over the summer, Newcastle could look to revive their interest in Maitland-Niles as the 23-year-old is likely to again request permission to leave on loan.
Bruce’s rapport with Arsenal and the success of Willock’s time at St. James’ Park is thought to offer Newcastle an advantage in any revived approach for Maitland-Niles if Willock is not allowed to seal a permanent transfer.
Reports by The Sun have suggested Arsenal are open to selling Maitland-Niles for £20m after he enjoyed a successful spell at West Brom, and was thought to have a wealth of suitors after thriving in his preferred central midfield position until they learnt his price tag.
Maitland-Niles had seriously begun to struggle for minutes under Arteta before he joined West Brom in the winter, having started just five of his 11 Premier League appearances, but cut a key role at the Hawthorns and, importantly, featured in midfield rather than full-back.
Allardyce was full of praise for the five-cap England international at points, noting in March how Maitland-Niles had been ‘fantastic’ (Shropshire Star), but the chances of him using that form at the Emirates would appear slim with the Gunners open to offers.
If no suitable bid arrives, sending Maitland-Niles to Newcastle on loan could prove worth considering, having seen Willock hit the ground running and set a new Premier League record as the youngest player to score in six consecutive appearances.
Willock’s form under Bruce also saw the midfielder deliver all-round performances with a determination to win the ball, cover the yards and get into the box that has seemingly impressed Arteta, who could now think fondly of sending Maitland-Niles there next.
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