Man Utd transfer chief Matt Judge eyeing Ainsley Maitland-Niles with Arsenal open to bids

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Manchester United are weighing up a summer move for Arsenal utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles, according to reports. The Red Devils are believed to be targeting a number of reinforcements ahead of next season, with director of football negotiations Matt Judge in line for a busy summer.

United are in need of one or two quality additions in order to bring the challenge to Manchester City in next season’s Premier League title race.

The 20-time English champions are said to be prioritising the addition of a new central defender, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keen on finding the perfect partner for Harry Maguire.

A number of potential targets have been mentioned in connection with summer moves to Old Trafford, including Villarreal defender Pau Torres and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane.

However, it seems as though United are also eager to provide Aaron Wan-Bissaka with some extra competition for his right-back slot ahead of the new campaign.

The former Crystal Palace man has started all but three of his side’s Premier League matches this season, but could soon be facing a battle to retain his first-choice status with the Red Devils keeping a close eye on Maitland-Niles’ situation.

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United are joined by Everton, Leeds United and Southampton in the race for the Arsenal man’s signature, according to the Daily Mail.

The report claims that although Maitland-Niles is more than capable of playing across the midfield when required, he is seen as a right-back option by United and Everton.

Meanwhile, Leeds and Southampton are said to be keen on deploying the 23-year-old in a central role in the middle of the park.

A summer move for Maitland-Niles appears to be a strong possibility, with Arsenal keen to let the Hale End academy graduate seek a new challenge at the end of the season, according to football.london.

He struggled to hold down a place in Mikel Arteta’s plans during the first half of the campaign and was shipped out to West Bromwich Albion on a half-season loan deal in January.

The Goodmayes native has impressed at times for Sam Allardyce’s side, but his performances have not been enough to steer the Baggies away from an immediate return to the Championship.

Maitland-Niles is contracted to Arsenal until the summer of 2023, but it seems likely that he will end his 17-year association with the club before the start of next season.

He admitted earlier this year that he was growing tired of life at the Emirates Stadium prior to his loan switch, claiming that his development was going nowhere as a fringe player under Arteta.

“It’s another loan deal, you are going to end up going back to the club eventually,” Maitland-Niles told talkSPORT.

“It was just more of a chance for me to show what I’m capable of rather than sitting on the bench for the rest of the season and rotting away.

“The main reason was being able to play as there’s nothing better than playing. I felt it would be great to experience the work of people trying to save their careers and stay in the Premier League.

“I think it was the perfect fit for me to be here and show them the qualities I can produce.”

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