Ainsley Maitland-Niles felt as though he was ‘rotting away’ at Arsenal
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has revealed that he felt like he was “rotting away” at Arsenal before his loan move to West Brom in January.
Prior to making his loan move to the Hawthorns in the January transfer window, Maitland-Niles was seriously struggling to nail down a first team spot in Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Indeed, from the opening 21 games of the Premier League season the England talent had only started in five for Arsenal and often found himself being used as a utility player whenever a position on either wing needed cover.
Now in a starting role for West Brom, the Arsenal player has revealed his frustration in the first half of the season at his parent club.
“It’s another loan deal, you are going to end up going back to the club eventually,” Maitland-Niles told talkSPORT.
“It was just more of a chance for me to show what I’m capable of other than sitting on the bench for the rest of the season and rotting away.
“The main reason was being able to play as there’s nothing better than playing. I felt it would be great to experience the work of people trying to save their careers and stay in the Premier League.
“I think it was the perfect fit for me to be here and show them the qualities I can produce.”
The winger’s game time in the Premier League
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Does Maitland-Niles have a future at Arsenal?
While some Arsenal fans may find the player’s comments about his time at Arsenal as rather disparaging, they clearly came from a place of great frustration and perhaps a realisation that Maitland-Niles will never be a regular starter for the London club.
With a contract with the club until 2023, it’s unlikely that the wide player will be able to leave Arsenal for a club like West Brom without a considerable amount of money going the opposite way but there’s also very little space for him to grow into in Arteta’s squad.
Either as a right or left winger, Maitland-Niles would have to return to Arsenal next season and challenge established first team stars like Bukayo Saka, Nicolas Pepe or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for their position. And if that’s the case then he may find himself back out on loan next season.