Arsenal cannot sell Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer, according to former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy. Maitland-Niles has been linked with a move to Wolves in this transfer window to raise funds for Mikel Arteta’s squad rebuild. But Murphy says there is no way he would be allowing the 23-year-old to exit the Emirates.
Maitland-Niles played a key role at left wing-back in Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final and final wins at the end of last season.
The versatile academy graduate also put in a man-of-the-match performance in the Community Shield win over Liverpool on Saturday.
Shortly after the match, Maitland-Niles earned his first call-up to the senior England side and Arsenal fans called for the club to keep the player at all costs.
But Murphy says he was “amazed” when he first saw rumours that Maitland-Niles could leave earlier this summer and thinks he is a player Arteta must keep hold of going forward.
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“Maitland-Niles I’m really shocked at because I’ve always been a fan of him,” Murphy said on talkSPORT.
“His versatility, his pace, he’s got good feet, he’s a threat going forward, loves running in-behind as well, and he’s been brilliant when he’s played wing-back.
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“He did really well against [Riyad] Mahrez in the semi-final, kept his place in the final, did outstandingly well in the Community Shield as well.
“He really is a terrific player, I was amazed when I even saw him linked to go anywhere else.
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“Now I understand the politics of a football club because you can’t just spend, spend, spend.
“If you’re going to bring players in, sometimes you have to let some players go and because he’s a talent, his value’s higher than others, so maybe that was the thinking behind it.
“But I’d be surprised if he went, just because of his quality. Maitland-Niles I wouldn’t be letting go, I really wouldn’t.
“I think most Arsenal fans would agree, they see him more than me, but his versatility, he can play right side, left side, he can play in the middle of the park.
“He’s not somebody that gets fazed – big games, turns up, very difficult to play against one-on-one defensively.”
Maitland-Niles scored a penalty in the shootout win over Liverpool.
And he gave little away about his future after the match.
“I’m an Arsenal player until I’m told otherwise,” Maitland-Niles told BT Sport.
“My heart’s in the club and whilst I’m here I’m going to give 100 per cent all the time, so that’s that.”
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