It is a summer transfer window that promised to be a busy one for the Gunners as Mikel Arteta looks to reshape his squad that won the Emirates FA Cup against all odds.
Seeking to establish himself after the sack of former boss, Unai Emery, expectations were modest but with the Emirates FA Cup triumph, hopes seems reignited and with it comes heighted expectations.
Arteta himself seems to have embraced the pressure as he has set himself the target of three years to conquer Europe. This audacious project was revealed by bossman signing, Willian. For this, Arteta has his work cut out as it means he has to return the club to a top four place or win the Europa League to have a chance of playing in Europe’s top flight club competition.
It seems Arteta is prepared for the huge task as he is preparing his troops and the Arsenal board. He has already added experienced winger, Willian to his ranks and reports have it that deal has been concluded for highly rated and enterprising Brazilian center back, Gabriel Maghales.
According to reports, the Gunners are not done fishing in the transfer market pool as they have in their sights long term target, Thomas Partey from Athletico Madrid, Aouar from Lyon and most recently, Thiago Alcantara from Bayern. These are willing and ready to move but do Arsenal have the cash to splash.
Arteta is ready to splash the cash and it seems the board are willing to back him but some players have to leave to make way for the new recruits. The likes of Sokratis, Holding, Chambers, Torreira and Maitland Niles have all been tipped to leave for the right price so as to raise funds to purse the highlighted targets.
Crux of discourse here is Ainsley Maitland Niles. The English midfielder cum defender who has lived and breathed Arsenal since the age of six has been tipped to be a target for Wolverhampton Wanderers. Infact Espirito’s side have seen a bid of 15m pounds rejected outrightly by Arsenal. Arsenal are holding out for a fee in the region of 30million pounds and I cannot blame them.
Niles is an English player who qualifies as a homegrown talent. Also his versatility means he is a huge asset to any team as he can play in central midfield position which is his preferred role and full back positions. Who does not like a jack of many trades and a master of one?
For Niles, a move away from Arsenal at this time will definitely benefit his career. For a fact, it would help him lay a claim to playing in his preferred central midfield position. At Arsenal, he has not had any stint there as he has often been deployed as a full back, either right or left.
Going to Wolves could mean him achieving that dream and that would be following in the steps of Oxlade Chamberlain who left Arsenal were he was predominantly played as winger or wing back for Liverpool to purse his central midfield dream.
A move to Wolves means more regular game time. Last season, he played 33 matches across all competitions but he might not have such luxury next season as Arsenal have two natural and more experienced right full backs in Bellerin and Soares. Better to jump ship now. At 22, what he needs is regular game time so as to develop his game and potentials.
For Arsenal, the exit of Niles will be a painful one but it could be assuaged. Having a versatile player in the ranks is always an asset since it means you can have emergency stop gap to address tactical issues or injuries but at this time, Arsenal need to strengthen the squad and need funds to do so. Niles owing to his unique features like age, nationality, talent and versatility is one that can help raise funds. Hence, Arsenal might need to cash in.
Former Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger said “the grass is not always greener somewhere else” but I dare to say that for Niles, the grass might just be greener elsewhere as he might just find pasture.