Ainsley Maitland-Niles admits transfer saga is ‘in the past’ as Arsenal star looks ahead

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Maitland-Niles is getting more opportunities in midfield this season

Maitland-Niles is getting more opportunities in midfield this season (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles wants to put his transfer saga in the summer window behind him and look towards the future.

The Gunners academy graduate went on loan to West Brom in January last season in search of more regular playing time in his favoured midfield position.

When a loan offer from Everton was turned down by Arsenal for Maitland-Niles, he took to social media to air his grievances.

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‘All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play,’ wrote the 24-year-old on Instagram in response to his scuppered switch to Goodison Park.

Since then, Maitland-Niles has been entrusted to play in the centre of the park on multiple occasions by Mikel Arteta, and he showcased his capabilities with a man of the match display in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Watford.

And the England international is only interested in looking forward, instead of dwelling on the past.

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‘That’s all in the past now,’ said Maitland-Niles. ‘I am just thinking about the future and what’s ahead of me.

‘It was great to be out there today, getting my minutes, and hopefully there is more to come.

‘Yeah [I’m] always happy to be on the pitch and play, it’s a good feeling.

‘Of course I’m looking for more minutes, I just need to keep my head down and keep going and working hard.’

After the Watford win, Arteta highlighted the key improvements of the versatile midfielder, claiming he looks like a ‘different player’.

‘First of all, I see a different player in terms of his urgency, his commitment, the clarity in his play, his purpose,’ said the Spaniard.

‘Since we made the decision [to keep him], it was clear what I was seeing that I wanted him to stay, because he was going to be useful.

‘He has a huge talent because he’s versatile enough to adapt to almost any position on the pitch. Today we made use of him to do what he had to do in the game, which was really important.’


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