Arsenal fans are unsure of the transfer plans for this summer as new manager Mikel Arteta continues to put his stamp on the playing personnel but one thing is close to certainty and that’s the future of midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles under the Spanish tactician.
Maitland-Niles was a regular at right-back in the early days of Mikel Arteta at Arsenal until January 18 when he made his last league appearance.
He had made eight successive starts in the league until that point with five of the eight games coming under Mikel Arteta.
According to the Daily Express, the future of Maitland-Niles is in serious doubt especially after Mikel Arteta was asked about the 22-year-old after the FA Cup tie at English League One side Portsmouth.
Arteta said that the player has to work harder to make his team when asked by reporters. The Arsenal boss preferred to play a centre back in Sokratis Papasthathopoulos at the right-back slot rather than Ainsley Maitland-Niles who was very impressive in that position earlier in the season.
Maitland-Niles has always maintained that his preference is central midfield but he has mainly played for Arsenal at right-back especially when first choice Hector Bellerin is injured.
Hector Bellerin was injured throughout last year because of a serious knee issue and Ainsley Maitland-Niles had to deputise for the Spanish international.
Since the Sheffield United game on January 18, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has not started any game for Arsenal.
He was given just one minute during the FA Cup win over Portsmouth on Monday night. His playing time will even reduce the more in the coming weeks with no Europa League games for the Gunners.
Arsenal became the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals in the FA Cup this season after the 2-0 away win over Portsmouth courtesy the goals from Sokratis Papasthathopoulos and Eddie Nketiah.