Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been sacrificed by the Arsenal bean counters.
The Gunners are finding out what it’s like to be put under the spotlight for their odious decision to fire 55 employees in the same week that deals for Willian and Philippe Coutinho are being discussed.
It can’t be pure coincidence that reports have linked Ainsley Maitland-Niles with a big exit from the Emirates right as they’re trying to raise money to fund moves for Brazilian forwards. Or, you know, they could just give 55 people their jobs back.
Sadly, that seems unlikely. In the statement made following the redundancy announcement, the club nailed their colours to the mast by declaring their main goal was to invest in players. But when that player investment seems to be driven solely by the desire of one man, Kia Joorabchian, to line his pockets as quickly and as efficiently as possible, things start to smell a bit fishy.
According to the MailOnline, Brighton want to take the 22-year-old for 30 million pounds. Despite playing 100 games for the Gunners, the Academy graduate has struggled to hold down a starting role this season and want more regular first team football.
Maitland-Niles did play 33 times for Arsenal this season, but has split his time across a variety of positions. He’s played at right-back, left-back, right midfield, central midfield and on the left.
That would be attractive for Brighton boss Graham Potter, who is known for changing formations frequently to throw off opposition managers.
There was no way, morally, that Arsenal could continue this recruitment drive, sack people, and ignore the main reason why they asked their players to take a pay cut without sacrificing someone to the bean counters.
Without those new signings, Maitland-Niles might not have had to cut his Emirates career short. Willian does, after all, play in one of his positions. But the chance to bring in 30 million pounds will prove too juicy to ignore.
Just don’t bank on them doing anything right with it.