Ainsley Maitland-Niles has confirmed that his time at Arsenal has come to an end with the versatile midfielder looking toward leaving the North London club this summer.
The England international, a product of Arsenal’s renowned academy system, spent the 2022/2023 season on loan with Southampton. He has also spent time at West Brom and Roma.
After 132 games for Arsenal and five international caps, he has decided to leave for a new challenge as soon as he becomes a free agent.
Arsenal have opted not to exercise an option to extend Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ contract by a year, therefore the player will leave the club at the end of the current season.
At the end of the current campaign, Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s contract with Arsenal will expire, allowing him to consider his next professional destination.
Maitland-Niles claims he hasn’t talked to anyone at the club since the beginning of the season, although it was always understood that he would be leaving the Gunners in the summer.
He was able to fill in at fullback and all over the midfield. After making his debut at age 17, his best stretch with the club occurred shortly after Arteta was named manager in December 2019.
The Spaniard used him as a left wingback, and the 2020 Arsenal FA Cup-winning team credited him with playing a key role.
After 20 years at the club, the 25-year-old will become a free agent after joining the Gunners when he was just six years old.
The Englishman confirmed that he was leaving the Gunners permanently this summer and would not mind committing to a permanent deal at Southampton where he is currently on loan.
Southampton will be hoping for a permanent agreement with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, although they are currently in the bottom three of the Premier League table and have only six games left to play this season to avoid relegation.
Speaking about his Arsenal exit, Maitland Niles said; “It’s been a great journey but it has come to an end now, it’s time for a fresh start and to find a new home”.
“I’m looking forward to that but, at the same time, my head’s not quite there yet and it’s all about what happening now with Southampton”.
“I’m just fully focused on trying to help us stay up and stay positive on a day-to-day basis and win games when the gets closer to the end of the season, I’ll have something else to think about. But right now, I’m just focused on football and the task at hand.
Maitland Niles added; Southampton is a great club to be at and progress and get some minutes under my belt. Of course, if they were to make an offer, I’ll be more than happy to stay”.
The south coast club had the option to buy Maitland-Niles in the summer as part of the initial loan agreement, but Arsenal’s decision to allow him to leave for free means that this won’t be necessary.
Despite a shocking 3-3 draw with Maitland-Niles’ parent club on Friday, the Saints continue to languish at the bottom of the Premier League table.
They are four points away from safety and have two crucial games against other struggling teams in the next two weeks (Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest).
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