Report shares what Rafa Benitez made of Everton targeting Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Everton may have attempted to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the final hours of the summer transfer window, but The Times has reported that Rafa Benitez was never keen on signing the Arsenal man.
Goodison Park looked to be Maitland-Niles’s most likely destination if he was going to leave the Emirates.
The 24-year-old’s future had become a talking point with Mikel Arteta using him sparingly in the opening weeks of the campaign.
He was an unused substitute for both of Arsenal’s first two Premier League games. And he came on for just 19 minutes of the defeat at Manchester City.
As noted by Sky Sports, Maitland-Niles took to Instagram to express his frustration about his current situation. And that seemingly prompted Everton to make a move.
Sky claims that the Toffees wanted to take Maitland-Niles on loan with an option to buy. However, Arsenal rejected the offer.
And the England international has now held talks to clear the air with Arteta.
Obviously, with the window now shut, he will remain an Arsenal player for the coming months.
And Benitez may actually be one who is pleased about that.
The Times reports that Maitland-Niles was one of the names Marcel Brands targeted as he looked to strengthen the club’s options at right-back.
But interestingly, the report adds that the Everton boss was ‘never keen’ on the Arsenal man.
Will Maitland-Niles make Everton rue missing out on loan?
Maitland-Niles must now be hoping that he is going to feature a lot more for Arsenal in the weeks ahead.
If he kicks on, he could be a really important player for Arteta. He certainly has the talent to make a difference.
So it will be interesting to see whether Everton rue missing out.
They are certainly in a vulnerable position at right-back. Should Seamus Coleman sustain an injury, they may be in a spot of bother.
And had Benitez been on board, it is surely likely that they would have stepped up their efforts to get a deal done.
With Arsenal reportedly open to a deal at one stage, events could have easily played out quite differently.