Crystal Palace director Dougie Freedman has made an enquiry about Ainsley Maitland-Niles after the Premier League midfielder admitted he would consider leaving Arsenal, as reported by Football London.
Even a record-equalling relegation has not diminished the reputation of a number of players who caught the eye in an otherwise horrible season for West Brom.
The latter, in particular, relished his time under Sam Allardyce, justifying the belief that his future should lie in the centre of the park after growing tired with life as Arsenal’s multi-faceted utility man.
Gunners legend Martin Keown once labelled Maitland-Niles ‘fantastic‘ after an eye-catching performance in his preferred role during a Europa League clash.
From Arsenal to Crystal Palace for Ainsley Maitland-Niles?
The England international caused quite a stir when he admitted, via the Telegraph, that he would listen to offers from elsewhere in the summer transfer window too.
“(Arsenal) can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me. I’ve heard they want to make some space (in the squad) and some money so I’m not sure,” said Maitland-Niles, referencing reports suggesting the Gunners want to raise funds for Ruben Neves’s arrival.
“I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can get to work with whoever I need to get to work with.
“If it works out it works out, if it doesn’t then kiss Arsenal goodbye.”
Less than 24 hours later, Crystal Palace were on the phone, asking about Maitland-Niles’ availability.
Football London reports that, in the absence of a manager, sporting director Dougie Freedman is driving the interest in a technically-gifted 23-year-old he has admired from afar for some time.
Arsenal are expected to demand around £20 million, however; a fee that may prove problematic for a Palace side who are not exactly among the division’s biggest spenders.