Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Three clubs interested in Arsenal midfielder

Maitland-Niles has three years left on his Arsenal contract

Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Image: Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be allowed to leave Arsenal this summer

Ainsley Maitland-Niles may be allowed to leave Arsenal this summer, with three clubs preparing to bid for him.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is looking to raise money in order to fund the club's recruitment drive ahead of next season.

Despite making 32 appearances during an elongated 2019/20 campaign, Maitland-Niles could be among the players Arteta is willing to listen to offers for.

Two unnamed Premier League clubs and one unnamed Bundesliga side are understood to be preparing bids for the 22-year-old.

Maitland-Niles, who can play in midfield or defence - but told Sky Sports last season that midfield was his preferred position - has been with Arsenal since the age of six, coming through the club's Hale End Academy.

He made his 100th appearance for Arsenal in the 2-1 FA Cup final victory over Chelsea at Wembley earlier this month.

Maitland-Niles, who has represented England at youth level, has three years remaining on his contract at the Emirates Stadium.

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Mikel Arteta poses with the FA Cup after Arsenal's win over Chelsea
Image: Mikel Arteta is keen to put his own stamp on the Arsenal squad having guided them to FA Cup success last season

Arteta: Maitland-Niles has 'incredible quality'

Asked last month about reports suggesting Maitland-Niles wanted to leave, Arteta said: "I don't read them so I don't know about them.

"I speak to the players about how they are feeling and how we can help them. If they are having difficulties again I speak to them and make it easier for them.

"He's a player who can play in many different positions, we have discussed the things in my opinion that he can improve or adapt to his game because he has incredible quality.

"He has every quality that you need to be a football player to play the highest level and he just needs to do it in a little bit more of a consistent way, but he is someone who can adapt to any position as well."

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Arsenal close on Chelsea's Willian

Meanwhile, Arteta is close to securing the signing of former Chelsea winger Willian on a free transfer.

The 32-year-old revealed on Sunday that he would be leaving Chelsea following the expiration of his contract and it is understood he will sign a three-year deal with Arsenal.

"Willian wants one big final contract - ideally a three-year deal to take him to 35," said Sky Sports News' Kaveh Solhekol. "Chelsea would like to keep him, though they're not going to offer him three years.

Willian's Chelsea PL ranking since debut in 2013
Image: Willian's Chelsea Premier League ranking since debut in 2013

"At the moment, it looks like Arsenal is his most likely destination but he is a free agent and at his age, realistically, you're likely to go where there is the most money and longest contract on offer.

"He's got a great injury record so his agent will be saying, 'Don't worry about his fitness'."

Aubameyang set to sign new deal

Arsenal's pursuit of Willian comes as they attempt to seal a new deal for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is understood to be close to extending his contract, which is currently set to expire in the summer of 2021.

Aubameyang, 31, scored 22 goals in the Premier League last season and netted twice in the cup final win over Chelsea.

Since his move to Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018, he has scored 54 goals in 85 Premier League games.

The news of the Arsenal's offers to Aubameyang and Willian comes after the club made a statement revealing their plan to make 55 members of staff redundant, including international recruitment specialist Francis Cagigao.

Arsenal said one of the key reasons cutbacks are being made is to "maintain investment in the team".

Summer transfer window - key dates and times

The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5.

A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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