Arteta is yet to be convinced that dropping him into a relegation scrap with a team who play a drastically different style of football will provide that.
West Brom are in talks with Arsenal over a loan deal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, though the Gunners are yet to decide whether a spell at The Hawthorns would be beneficial for him.
Maitland-Niles has been on the fringes of Mikel Arteta’s squad this season and has racked up a reasonable 21 appearances in all competitions. Just six of those have come from the start though, leading to reports of frustration at his role in the squad.
The 23-year-old is targeting a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championship and that is not something he is likely to attain unless he is starting regularly.
A source has told NoRM’s known Media that West Brom have made a move to sign him on loan, but they are not the only club looking at him as Southampton and Newcastle are both keen. Sam Allardyce’s men believe, however, they are favourites to land Maitland-Niles because they would be willing to play him in his preferred central midfield role.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein also says that the Baggies are ‘pushing hard’ to bring him in, but Arsenal still believe he could have a role to play in their season and only want to send him out if it will benefit his development.
Ornstein’s report notes that there is interest from an unnamed ‘current top four’ Premier League team, potentially Leicester or West Ham, who were sat in fourth at the time the piece was written.
Arsenal would prefer to send him to one of those sides, but the Hammers can no longer be in the running after securing the services of Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard on loan until the end of the season – a deal that West Brom were also hoping to conclude.
With just days left of the transfer window, then, we may be in for an interesting stand-off – do the Gunners ship him off to the lower reaches of the table, or wait for their preferred option at the risk of no move coming off?
The loan signing of Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid pushed him further down the midfield pecking order, while Hector Bellerin, Cedric Soares and Kieran Tierney are each preferred to fill the full-back positions where Maitland-Niles has proven a capable deputy.
He did start as recently as two weeks ago, however, and it isn’t believed Arteta would be against keeping him around as cover for the second half of the season.
What Arsenal decide may come down to how hard the player pushes for a move. As things stand, he is keen to go out on loan but hasn’t forced the issue – something that may change ahead of Monday’s deadline.