WBA lead Maitland-Niles race


West Bromwich Albion are in the pole position to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal, according to Sky Sports.

The 23-year-old, whose vast versatility enables him to play in any wide role (fullback, wing-back, winger), is apparently frustrated with the lack of game-time in Mikel Arteta’s team and has reportedly asked to be allowed to leave on loan for the second half of the season, wanting to give himself a proper chance of making the England squad for the upcoming European Championship. At the moment, he isn’t the first choice in any position, with Arteta mostly using him as an emergency option wherever he needs to.

There are several clubs keeping an eye on further developments, but West Brom lead the race right now. Manager Sam Allardyce is working hard to convince the club owners to make a move and secure a loan deal between now and the closing of the transfer window at 11PM (BST) on Monday.

And while Maitland-Niles always fulfills his manager’s wishes without hesitation and plays wherever he is picked to play, he prefers to be in the midfield line, and that is where Allardyce apparently wants him to play for the Baggies. He played right-back against them in the Gunners’ 0-4 triumph at the Hawthorns on January 2nd, and for the 0-0 draw at home against Crystal Palace 12 days later, he was shifted to the left.

Wolverhampton Wanderers were keen to bring in Maitland-Niles following the sale of Matt Doherty to Tottenham Hotspur last summer, but Arsenal rejected their reported offer of £15m and they signed Nelson Semedo from Barcelona instead.