Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles could make a surprise move to Tottenham after the Gunners’ hierarchy put the versatile youngster up for sale against Mikel Arteta’s wishes, according to reports.
The 22-year-old is eager for more first-team football having started just one league game after the season restart – in an end-of-season dead rubber against Watford – though he impressed against both Manchester City and Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Despite using him sparingly, Arteta is keen to keep Maitland-Niles in his squad – particularly with a Europa League campaign to prepare for – though Arsenal’s decision makers feel differently.
The Gunners need to raise funds in order to spend this summer and believe they can get as much as £30million for Maitland-Niles, a significant sum for a squad player, and have overruled Arteta.
Now The Sun sensationally claim that Tottenham have registered their interest in Maitland-Niles and made it known they would be keen to prise him away from their rivals.
The midfielder-turned-right-back is believed to favour staying in London, with Fulham, West Ham and Crystal Palace also interested and prepared to give him the chance to remain in the capital.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho is said to be particularly attracted to how versatile he is, with Maitland-Niles able to play in a variety of defensive and midfield roles.
While Arsenal’s hierarchy are hoping to get £30m, they may have to settle for a fee closer to £20m.
Were Arsenal to sell an academy product to their north London rivals it could create even more tension among a fanbase who have criticised the decision to make 55 redundancies while offering a mammoth contract to 32-year-old free agent Willian.
In addition to signing the Chelsea winger, Arsenal are also working on a contract extension for top scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and have been linked with Lille centre-back Gabriel and Barcelona playmaker Philippe Coutinho.
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