Journalist David Ornstein has revealed that the future of one of Mikel Arteta’s midfielders appears to be in serious doubt after a lack of playing time in recent weeks.
Prior to the suspension of Premier League action due to the coronavirus outbreak last week, the Gunners had managed to win three games in a row to get back in the race for a top four spot.
However, Arsenal’s return to form coincided with the return to the bench of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who was overlooked for Sokratis at right-back.
The Englishman had been a regular in the Gunners’ starting eleven for much of this season, after cementing a place in the team due to the frequent absence of Hector Bellerin.
Out of nowhere though, Maitland-Niles was recently dropped out of the starting line-up and it appears as though matters off the pitch between him and the boss remain the reason.
According to David Ornstein, the midfielder’s days at the club appear to be numbered, due to the fact that he does not prefer to play as a defender under Arteta.
“I heard some suggestions, a long time ago now, that [Maitland-Niles] had expressed a desire or a preference not to be playing at right-back, and that he favours a central midfield position,” Ornstein said on The Athletic podcast.
“Mikel Arteta isn’t particularly receptive to players indicating where they want to play. They will play where they’re told to play, and for the good of the team.
“Since then, I don’t know the exact conversations that have gone on, but he hasn’t been playing very much.
“One other suggestion I got was that he has been late for a couple of training sessions. Certainly, Arteta would not like that, given the discipline and behaviour and respect and culture that’s so important to him.
“Some people around Arsenal feel that it could be done for Ainsley Maitland-Niles at Arsenal. We don’t know for a fact. I’m just reflecting suggestions I’ve heard.”