Wolves hold­ing talks over £20m Mait­land-Niles

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Sam Dean and John Percy

Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers are in talks to sign Ains­ley Mait­land-Niles, the Ar­se­nal mid­fielder, who has made clear his de­sire to play more reg­u­lar first-team foot­ball.

Mait­land-Niles ex­celled in the FA Cup at the end of last sea­son, play­ing a key role in Ar­se­nal’s vic­to­ries over Manch­ester City and Chelsea.

But the 22-year-old had started only one league game since midJan­uary af­ter fall­ing out of favour un­der man­ager Mikel Arteta.

Mait­land-Niles is un­der con­tract at Ar­se­nal un­til 2023, putting his club in a strong ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tion. It is thought Wolves would have to pay about £20 mil­lion to se­cure his sig­na­ture.

Their pur­suit of Mait­land-Niles comes af­ter wing-back Jonny Otto suf­fered a se­ri­ous knee in­jury dur­ing the Europa League match against Olympia­cos this month. Mait­land-Niles prefers to play as a mid­fielder rather than a full-back, but has in­sisted he would even play in goal if that was what his man­ager wanted.

Ar­se­nal will rein­vest any money they make in sales this sum­mer, with Arteta and tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Edu keen to bol­ster the mid­field.

Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey re­mains a tar­get, while they have been linked with Lyon’s Houssem Aouar.

They are also hope­ful of se­cur­ing an­other sea­son-long loan for Dani Ce­bal­los, the Real Madrid mid­fielder.

A fee of about £20 mil­lion for Mait­land-Niles would help to cover a sig­nif­i­cant part of the ini­tial £22.6 mil­lion that Ar­se­nal have com­mit­ted on Lille cen­tre-back Gabriel Ma­gal­haes.

It is un­der­stood that Gabriel was at Ar­se­nal’s train­ing base yes­ter­day to com­plete his move from France.

The tim­ing of the trans­fer is com­plex be­cause of quar­an­tine rules af­fect­ing trav­ellers from France, but it is un­der­stood that Ar­se­nal are work­ing un­der strict med­i­cal su­per­vi­sion.

Frus­trated: Ains­ley Mait­land-Niles wants first-team ac­tion so could move to Wolves

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