Soccer

Mikel Arteta breaks silence on Ainsley Maitland-Niles Arsenal saga after private talks

Arteta launches staunch defence of Arsenal's transfer policy

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Mikel Arteta has quelled rumours of uncertainty between himself and Ainsley Maitland-Niles after holding talks with the versatile player. Maitland-Niles, 24, was heavily linked with a move to Everton at the end of the transfer window but a deal never came to fruition.

At one stage, the London-born midfielder – who can also play right-back – posted an Instagram story saying: “All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play” – suggesting a move to Merseyside was in the offing.

But after reassurances over his playing time, Arteta has convinced the five-time England capped midfielder to stay after holding crunch talks.

“Any private conversation with players, what we believe the role they have in the team, is always resolved privately,” Arteta said to the press.

“I am happy that he has stayed, it was our intention and he’s another player in the squad.”

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Maitland-Niles stays alongside Calum Chambers and Takehiro Tomiyasu as he bids to win back the right-back berth from his fellow team-mates.

However, Arteta is particularly upset with the loss of Hector Bellerin on loan to Real Betis.

Bellerin moved on loan to the Seville-based outfit on transfer deadline day as Arsenal brought in Tomiyasu as his replacement.

Having started life brilliantly at Arsenal, Bellerin has slowly lost his way at the Emirates and the Spaniard wanted to seek pastures new.

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“He’s been a really important part of everything that happened at Arsenal in the last 10 years,” Arteta continued.

“He’s an exceptional player and incredible player, & he will be missed.

“He’s loved by everybody at the club. He needed a new challenge so we decided to let him go.”

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The Gunners continue their Premier League season with a massive home game against fellow strugglers Norwich City on Saturday.

Both sides sit in the bottom two places of the table with no points, and Arsenal being without a goal at all.

Yet facing the Canaries, who are the relegation favourites of the league, Arsenal will be hoping to pick up all three points and finally get their season up and running.

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