Atletico Madrid are interested in signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal in January and they’re preparing a ‘bold’ bid for his services, according to Sky Sports.
Apparently, Atletico have been watching Maitland-Niles closely for a whole year, monitoring his development and mulling over a potential move for him in the future, as they seek to add a long-term solution for the right defensive flank to their ranks. However, their need for such a player has become dire in the last few days, after Kieran Trippier, their regular starter in that position, picked up a 10-week ban for several accounts of betting rules violation which is set to see him miss no less than 13 games.
Maitland-Niles was close to leaving the Emirates to join Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer this year, and the two clubs were reportedly very close to reaching a deal after Wolves sold Matt Doherty to Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal changed their minds at the last minute, with manager Mikel Arteta feeling the 23-year-old would still have an important role to play for his team.
It remains to be seen what is meant by the expression ‘bold bid’ in this case. Maitland-Niles is bound to Arsenal until the summer of 2023 which puts the north-Londoners in a strong negotiating position, but if Atletico act with determination and offer enough money, it’s not too difficult to imagine the player accepting a move from a team currently sitting 15th in the Premier League and playing in the Europa League, to one topping the La Liga table and playing in the Champions League every year.