Manchester United have been linked with a shock £20million move for Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles, though the club have reportedly flatly denied the rumours.
The Red Devils are in desperate need of reinforcements having made just one signing this summer – Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek – while Arsenal need to raise funds in order to pursue their top transfer targets.
Maitland-Niles was expected to be sacrificed as a result, coming close to joining Wolves in a £30m deal earlier in the summer, though Mikel Arteta opted to keep hold of the 23-year-old.
But since then Arsenal have struggled to find buyers for their other surplus-to-requirements players, with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Matteo Guendouzi and Calum Chambers yet to be sold.
With Arteta desperate to land either Lyon’s Houssem Aouar or Atletico Madrid star Thomas Partey, the Arsenal boss may have been forced into a U-turn over Maitland-Niles.
On Wednesday, reports in Germany via Sport1 emerged claiming United had made an approach for the versatile England international and were in advanced talks, with the Red Devils likely to pay an initial fee of £20m plus a number of bonuses and add-ons.
However, the Manchester Evening News say United officials are adamant there is nothing in the rumours and they will not be signing the Arsenal star, instead focusing their efforts on wrapping up a deal for Porto’s Alex Telles.
United have so far been frustrated in their efforts to sign the left-back, with talks stalling over the fee, and Maitland-Niles would certainly tick a number of boxes for the club.
He has been playing at left wing-back for Arteta recently but is also capable on the right of defence, potentially providing a more attack-minded alternative to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and can play in a variety of midfield roles and on the flanks.
United legend Gary Neville has long been a fan of Maitland-Niles, saying back in 2018: ‘He looks absolutely fantastic. It’s so early in his Arsenal career and to play in huge matches out of position… to show that quality and confidence – it’s great to see.’
However a deal seems highly unlikely, with Arteta having come to rely on Maitland-Niles heavily, using him in the FA Cup final and the Community Shield, while he has started two of Arsenal’s first three fixtures in the Premier League.
The north London club are also close to finalising an agreement with Bayer Leverkusen that will see Sead Kolasinac return to Germany in a £9million deal.
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