Ainsley Maitland-Niles has tied down his long-term future with Arsenal by agreeing on a contract extension with the club, for an indeterminate number of years. The 20-year-old English U20 international made his presence known during this past season, featuring as a sturdy right back deputy to Hector Bellerin as well as playing a number of matches from his more natural central midfield position, making 28 appearances in all competitions.
Under Unai Emery. it’s expected that Maitland-Niles will feature prominently, as he revealed to football.london that Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis told the player that the new head coach spoke at length about how he would best use Maitland-Niles during his interview last month. Given that Emery’s had prior success in getting the most out of midfield prospects, it’s nothing more than a little stretch of the imagination required to deduct that Emery more than likely sees him playing more centrally than out wide.
News also came out during the announcement of his contract extension that Maitland-Niles will be rewarded for his commitment to the club by getting a number more fitting for a first-team player. He will be wearing number 15 from now on, which was last worn by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, before he departed last August to the perpetually grey dockland shithole known as Liverpool.