Transfer news: Who could be on the move this summer?
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Arsenal utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been linked with a surprise move to Manchester United ahead of the summer transfer window. The 23-year-old, who is currently on loan at West Bromwich Albion, appears likely to depart the Emirates Stadium at the end of the season with the Gunners looking to sell a number of players in order to fund new arrivals.
Meanwhile, United will be hoping to push through a few deals of their own in time for next season.
The Red Devils are said to be pursuing the addition of a new centre-back as a matter of priority, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen to find the perfect defensive partner for Harry Maguire.
At least one winger is also believed to be high on the club’s agenda, with reports of their interest in Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho resurfacing as of late.
However, it seems as though United could also be looking to find some quality cover for their established first-team stars.
The 20-time Premier League champions are one of several clubs keeping tabs on Maitland-Niles with a keen interest, according to the Daily Mail.
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Everton, Leeds United and Southampton are said to be the other sides in question, suggesting that United could face a tough battle for the Arsenal man’s signature.
Although the club are weighing up the possibility of a move for Maitland-Niles, it remains to be seen whether the player himself would be willing to join.
The report crucially claims that the Red Devils and Everton see him as a right-back, while Leeds and Southampton want him as a central midfielder.
Maitland-Niles revealed back in February that he prefers to play in the middle of the park, which suggests that he could snub United if they refuse to deploy him in his natural role.
“I’m a midfielder, of course,” he told West Brom’s official channels shortly after completing his loan move from Arsenal.
“I can do the job at left-back and right-back, but my preferred position is in the middle of the pitch.”
Arsenal reportedly turned down a £15million bid for Maitland-Niles from Wolves last year, but the Gunners are expected to allow him to leave the club this time around.
A report from football.london has claimed that he will be one of six first-team players on the chopping block during the summer months.
Bernd Leno, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac are said to have been transfer listed alongside Maitland-Niles.
Former Arsenal forward Kevin Campbell predicted last year that the West Brom loanee would be eager to leave the north London club in the near future, citing his possible frustration over Arteta’s apparent lack of confidence in his ability.
“I think he will pursue an exit in the summer,” Campbell told Football Insider.
“Although he loves the club, he is an England international now. He has to play football. There is no point loving the club and being a bit-part player.
“You have proven you can do it on numerous occasions, you are a full England international and you are on the bench. That is not going to last.”
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