Man Utd 'interested in shock Ainsley Maitland-Niles transfer from Arsenal alongside three other Prem teams after loan'

MANCHESTER UNITED are interested in a shock transfer for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, according to reports.

The Arsenal academy graduate, 23, has spent the second half of this season on loan at West Brom.

And despite the Baggies getting relegated, the England international impressed with his performances under Sam Allardyce.

According to the Daily Mail, the Red Devils are considering an approach to Arsenal when he returns to his parent club.

However, the report adds they would face competition from three other Premier League sides – Everton, Leeds and Southampton.

United and Everton would bring Maitland-Niles in as a full-back.

At Old Trafford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the first-choice right-back with Brandon Williams used as a back-up this season while the Toffees have frequently fielded a centre-back in the position with Seamus Coleman absent.

Whereas Southampton and Leeds want him as a central midfielder.

Arsenal rejected a £15million bid from Wolves last year but the five-cap Three Lions man is thought to be ready to move on this summer with two years left on his contract.

Maitland-Niles joined Arsenal at six and progressed through the youth ranks to make his first-team debut in 2014 aged 17.


He has racked up 121 first-team appearances for the Gunners with three goals.

But his versatility at full-back and midfield means he often fills in for injured players rather than nailing down his own spot.

On the periphery of Gareth Southgate's England plans, he joined West Brom on loan in January to stop himself 'rotting away' on the bench and to give himself a shot at getting into the Euro 2020 squad.

Former Arsenal left-back Ashley Cole said: "The problem he had was being too versatile for his own good.

"There were so many players in the squad.

"You've got an injury at right-back, left-back, central midfielder, right-wing, left wing-back… He could play everywhere.

"But it's very important, certainly for young players, to nail down a spot and really make that their own.

"He feels central midfield is his position – that's where he wants to ply his trade. Big Sam has taken a chance on him and given him that opportunity."

Sam Allardyce has played Maitland-Niles in central midfield for all 12 of his Baggies appearances.

He said in March: “Ainsley was dropped in a full-back role, filling in, which wasn’t his position and he never saw it as his position.

“Because he’s had many years of nearly always playing in that position and not playing where he wanted to play, other clubs have only ever seen him as a full-back and I think even England played him there.

“He wants to play in midfield for us, he’s got the energy to do and he has excellent ability with both feet."

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