According to ESPN FC, Arsenal are working on a new contract for Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Maitland-Niles is signed through the end of next season, but the club would like to secure his services long-term. The youngster has made 9 Premier League appearances this season (5 starts, 4 substitute) and 6 in the Europa League.
While there are no specifics on the contract the club has reportedly offered, signing talented, young players to long-term contracts is generally a good thing. It helps to control costs and also removes the potential distraction of ongoing negotiations. Plus, as Arsenal learned this season with Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil, letting contracts run down to the wire is...not great.
Maitland-Niles is particularly valuable to Arsenal because he is both a homegrown player AND an Arsenal academy player - he’s been with the club since he was 9 years old. Check out this article for a more in depth explanation of how the homegrown player rules work.
With the transfer window closed, Arsenal appear to be shifting their focus to new contracts for current players. Last week, it was Mesut Özil signing a new contract. Yesterday, there were rumors about a contract extension for Aaron Ramsey. And of course today comes the news about the Maitland-Niles negotiations.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has the potential to be a key player for Arsenal for many years - the type of player that can help form the core of a roster. He’s talented, versatile, pacey and has already shown he can play at a Premier League level. It’s encouraging that the club seems to agree.