Ainsley Maitland-Niles: Midfielder or in deNile?

Big Poppa

Established Member
Trusted
AMN's value for us lies in us getting a decent fee. That can be reinvested in the playing squad. Willock might have an outside chance of making it here, but Nketiah is living on borrowed time too.

This is normal for a club of Arsenal's size. Few of our youngsters will make it here, but many will go on to have successful careers in football in other clubs.

I don't necessarily disagree. But I'd encourage you to look at the bigger picture and current circumstances.

The perceived value of players below 25 fluctuates immensely, much like their form and confidence - for example if we sold Guendouzi when he was playing regularly and just got called up to the France national team, nobody would've balked at paying £40m. Now it's a different story. Torreira the same.

Conversely we sold Ox and Iwobi for a combined total of £80m because they were seen as key members of our squad, rather than players who truly justify that fee. On the point of re-investing fees - this summer's transfer market will be unlike most. We took out a loan of £120m from the bank of England in January to cover lost revenues - that needs to be repaid. We still owe a significant chunk in structured fees for the likes of Pepe, and it's quite possible we'll fail to qualify for Europe. There is no guarantee of reinvestment whatsoever.

If the argument here is fiscal, there's still more than enough room to question players with high intrinsic value being frozen out of first team affairs. Arteta's looking for shortcuts to success but it's a sizeable own goal if we get the balance wrong.
 

Goonger

Well-Known Member
If you want to say people bringing up AMN and Willock to make up at least one CM spot in our squad next season (in addition to Bissouma or alternate while Elneny and Ceballos leave) is about an agenda against Arteta you are free to do so, but you risk conflating such an accusation in with anyone primarily talking about what they genuinely see in best interests of Arsenal. That’s a lot about what this is by the way @GoonerJeeves, I would of course want Elneny sold with one year left on his contract, and I don’t want us spending 20m on Ceballos either.

You've skim read this thread it seems. The topic is way broader than recent loan performances.

Fair points, Im probably guilty of that yes. My opinion is that these guys need game time every week to improve, so in my opinion we've done the right thing by letting them go on loan. In fact, in hindsight, we should have done it at the start of the season.

The question then becomes what we do next season. Will they have had enough time to really hone their game, or if we bring them back into the fold for next season, will they get enough game time next season so their development continues, otherwise they will just stagnate at their current levels again?

There's also the players point of view. Will they be happy being a squad player, or now they have had a taste of it, would they rather drop a level & play every week, than come back & maybe play 1 in 3 or 1 in 4?

I can see that it's a fine line, & worthy of debate, so apologies for jumping in. Perhaps if Arteta were to tweak formation to say a more straight forward 433, both guys would stand in better stead.

On the flip side, is that these 2 are probably our 2 most sellable assets currently, in terms of being able to find a buyer. If we need to raise funds, perhaps we are left with little choice.
 

MutableEarth

Reiss' Dad
Trusted
AMN was never given a fair crack at midfield so I'll never cop to this idea that he'll always be a rubbish midfielder. To me, he'll never be a full-back despite everyone saying he will be, so there's that.

I think the ship has sailed for him because the club ruined his development by trying to force full back on him, as well as the fact that he never truly applied himself at the very least to curry some favour for a potential midfield role. His nonchalance is a bigger problem than where he plays IMO. If he was more switched on most of the time, he'd be having better games - especially in midfield which is HIS BEST POSITION. Nonetheless, given it's unlikely he'll be coming back to play for us (unless he resigns his fate to miserably play a position he will never reach his full potential in), my hope is that we get a good fee and he goes to a decent enough team to continue to build his stock as a midfielder.
 

AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere
It's mental. One good performance against a Southampton team with 1 eye on their semi final at the weekend & it's used as another reason to bash Arteta.

Same with Willock, who's doing ok, but even he's not started the last 2 games & the game before that he got hooked off after an hour with Newcastle losing 2-0 to Brighton.

Totally, lol. There is so much fantasy with Willock and AMN on this forum, it's really amazing. There's a huge contingent here that actually thinks that Willock can play in a midfield two for Arsenal, something he's never done, has not shown even a wink of the technical and tactical level needed to do, and isn't doing even for a relegation side in Newcastle (playing as the only position he can play centrally; highest 8 in a 3).

AMN, I mean, the only thing Arteta and Edu should be bashed for was not selling him this summer when he was at the peak of his value and had suitors. Hopefully we can still get a similar fee for him this summer. But again, another player that doesn't have the technical or tactical level to play as a CM for Arsenal, and who wasn't even putting in good performances as a wingback this season before we loaned him. Still laugh about the massive meltdown this past summer about the idea of selling AMN, a player as mediocre as him, when clearly we could've put the £15-20m in profit to MUCH more important needs if he had done so, as we should've. Instead, you had the forum in meltdown as if we were selling prime Seedorf. :facepalm:

AMN was never given a fair crack at midfield so I'll never cop to this idea that he'll always be a rubbish midfielder. To me, he'll never be a full-back despite everyone saying he will be, so there's that.

I think the ship has sailed for him because the club ruined his development by trying to force full back on him, as well as the fact that he never truly applied himself at the very least to curry some favour for a potential midfield role. His nonchalance is a bigger problem than where he plays IMO. If he was more switched on most of the time, he'd be having better games - especially in midfield which is HIS BEST POSITION. Nonetheless, given it's unlikely he'll be coming back to play for us (unless he resigns his fate to miserably play a position he will never reach his full potential in), my hope is that we get a good fee and he goes to a decent enough team to continue to build his stock as a midfielder.

Much like with Willock, it's really hard to see what people see in AMN as a midfielder for a top club. We're talking about a player who is a massive project at CM, he'd need 3-5 years of development in the prem as a CM and even then we don't know if he'd be good enough. Look at Ceballos, who was far ahead of his development as a CM than AMN / Willock when we signed him, and still hasn't been good enough / still needs more refinement. People are getting excited about a couple performances for an Allardyce relegation club, let's be a bit more realistic here, the demands for a club aspiring for top 4 are radically different. AMN and Willock if they started here in important games would get eaten alive. Look at Willock in his 2 starts in the league, where he was well off the standard required.

We're talking about players with major technical / tactical limitations as a central midfielder. AMN's potential as a CM isn't even that great, I'm trying to think of a good comp. but it's probably something like Doucoure or Andre Gomes, people with limited passing range, good running, and an ability to break up the play. Same for Willock, though he's got a bit more ability as a b2b arriving and finding interesting spaces...I guess he'd be more Doucoure in terms of potential.
 
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TromsoGooner

Obsessed With Hairspray
Totally, lol. There is so much fantasy with Willock and AMN on this forum, it's really amazing. There's a huge contingent here that actually thinks that Willock can play in a midfield two for Arsenal, something he's never done, has not shown even a wink of the technical and tactical level needed to do, and isn't doing even for a relegation side in Newcastle (playing as the only position he can play centrally; highest 8 in a 3).

AMN, I mean, the only thing Arteta and Edu should be bashed for was not selling him this summer when he was at the peak of his value and had suitors. Hopefully we can still get a similar fee for him this summer. But again, another player that doesn't have the technical or tactical level to play as a CM for Arsenal, and who wasn't even putting in good performances as a wingback this season before we loaned him. Still laugh about the massive meltdown this past summer about the idea of selling AMN, a player as mediocre as him, when clearly we could've put the £15-20m in profit to MUCH more important needs if he had done so, as we should've. Instead, you had the forum in meltdown as if we were selling prime Seedorf. :facepalm:
I don`t think anyone believes AMN or Willock should be starters in our midfield. Same with Saliba. The thing that frustrates people, myself included, is that they haven`t been given a chance while players like Ceballos, Elneny and Holding have been used a lot.

If our midfield was Vieira, Gilberto, Edu and Parlour, no one would blame Arteta for not giving AMN a chance in midfield. But apart from Partey and to a lesser extent Xhaka, our midfield options are painfully averge.
 

AbouCuéllar

Wishes to get banned elsewhere
I don`t think anyone believes AMN or Willock should be starters in our midfield. Same with Saliba. The thing that frustrates people, myself included, is that they haven`t been given a chance while players like Ceballos, Elneny and Holding have been used a lot.

If our midfield was Vieira, Gilberto, Edu and Parlour, no one would blame Arteta for not giving AMN a chance in midfield. But apart from Partey and to a lesser extent Xhaka, our midfield options are painfully averge.

Elneny is at least an experienced midfielder who you can count on more or less in terms of positioning and the basic requirements, and not to make big errors in possession. He's nothing special but it's absolutely understandable he is picked before complete midfield projects, very raw and limited midfielders like Willock and AMN. Anyways, Willock is not competition for that position, as mentioned, it's a total pipedream the idea of Willock in a two, unless perhaps in front of a line of 5.

Saliba I don't understand the problem. He looked very raw this past autumn in his games for the U23. He was robbed an important development time both through covid and supposed family issues. As such, he was sent on loan for one more season. If this summer he is not given a chance then I fully understand the criticism--as he should be very much in competition for our starting RCB place next season, alongside Gabriel / Marí--but for now it seems to me rather weird.

Xhaka has his issues and I can be critical of him but honestly comparing him and Willock / AMN as CMs in a pivot is laughable. They're not in the same league.
 

AberGooner

Well-Known Member
Trusted
AMN was never given a fair crack at midfield so I'll never cop to this idea that he'll always be a rubbish midfielder. To me, he'll never be a full-back despite everyone saying he will be, so there's that.

I think the ship has sailed for him because the club ruined his development by trying to force full back on him, as well as the fact that he never truly applied himself at the very least to curry some favour for a potential midfield role. His nonchalance is a bigger problem than where he plays IMO. If he was more switched on most of the time, he'd be having better games - especially in midfield which is HIS BEST POSITION. Nonetheless, given it's unlikely he'll be coming back to play for us (unless he resigns his fate to miserably play a position he will never reach his full potential in), my hope is that we get a good fee and he goes to a decent enough team to continue to build his stock as a midfielder.
I noticed WBA played him slightly deeper last night in a two with Yokuslu. I didn't see the Chelsea game but the previous games I've seen he's partnered Gallagher with Yokuslu behind them but I think the deeper role looks like his best role.

Really intelligent performance last night. He was receiving the ball in deeper positions and beating the high press from Southampton for fun which abled him to turn and get into space with the game in front of him then. Really controlled that midfield, took Ward-Prowse out of the game. Can run all day too, great athlete.
 

scytheavatar

Established Member
AMN was never given a fair crack at midfield so I'll never cop to this idea that he'll always be a rubbish midfielder. To me, he'll never be a full-back despite everyone saying he will be, so there's that.

I think the ship has sailed for him because the club ruined his development by trying to force full back on him, as well as the fact that he never truly applied himself at the very least to curry some favour for a potential midfield role. His nonchalance is a bigger problem than where he plays IMO. If he was more switched on most of the time, he'd be having better games - especially in midfield which is HIS BEST POSITION. Nonetheless, given it's unlikely he'll be coming back to play for us (unless he resigns his fate to miserably play a position he will never reach his full potential in), my hope is that we get a good fee and he goes to a decent enough team to continue to build his stock as a midfielder.

If every manager he has worked with except for Big Sam does not want to play AMN as a midfielder, it is clear he does not play the best as a midfielder. And Big Sam probably is playing AMN as a midfielder only because AMN demanded to do so before joining WBA.
 

Rex Banter

Got Swerved By Gallas
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Don’t think anyone is saying that Willock and AMN are Scholes and Keane 2.0 but they’ve never been given a consistent opportunity.

If we were competing for a title or even top 4 I’d be ok with not giving them minutes but we might not manage to finish in the top 10 ffs.

Giving potential development minutes to junk players like Ceballos and Elneny just kicks the can down the road and tanks their values but with the added bonus of still being a sh-t team.
 

dashsnow17

Sounds Like Hairspray
Trusted
I don't necessarily disagree. But I'd encourage you to look at the bigger picture and current circumstances.

The perceived value of players below 25 fluctuates immensely, much like their form and confidence - for example if we sold Guendouzi when he was playing regularly and just got called up to the France national team, nobody would've balked at paying £40m. Now it's a different story. Torreira the same.

Conversely we sold Ox and Iwobi for a combined total of £80m because they were seen as key members of our squad, rather than players who truly justify that fee. On the point of re-investing fees - this summer's transfer market will be unlike most. We took out a loan of £120m from the bank of England in January to cover lost revenues - that needs to be repaid. We still owe a significant chunk in structured fees for the likes of Pepe, and it's quite possible we'll fail to qualify for Europe. There is no guarantee of reinvestment whatsoever.

If the argument here is fiscal, there's still more than enough room to question players with high intrinsic value being frozen out of first team affairs. Arteta's looking for shortcuts to success but it's a sizeable own goal if we get the balance wrong.

I think it's about striking a balance. The 3 broad ways an academy player can be useful for a club is 1) they're really good and make you better 2)they're good enough to fill in for a while and you don't have to buy someone for that or 3) they get you money in the market.

We've been very lucky with the Hale End crop. Only Saka and ESR will fit into the first category. As for the rest you could argue we've already saved money the past two seasons by using them as back-ups. Nketiah basically did what Lucas Perez did for us but we didnt have to spend anything on him.

I don't know if it's all this summer, but at some point Nketiah, AMN, Willock and Nelson will have to be sold. Cos category two doesn't last forever, eventually if the quality isn't quite there and their career would benefit at a smaller club then you've got to go down the category three route.

The only one i'm unsure on is Willock, i reckon you could get a good fee for him but at the same time he has athletic qualities that we lack in midfield and he'll get even stronger, but I don't know if he'll ever be technically good enough for what the coach wants.
 

dashsnow17

Sounds Like Hairspray
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I look at Willock and think he could be useful here, but what's best for him and us, him being a bit-part player or being an important player somewhere else and we get a fee for him? I think it's the second, these guys love Arsenal but they're not gonna stay here forever just to play bit-part roles.
 

The_Playmaker

Established Member
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Wouldn't his value increase? Seeing as he is an England international, who can play full back to high level. His cm performances were always questioned, but if he plays there for half a season, then that is ANOTHER position he can play and with Brexit, I don't see is value lowering.

It's a shame as I think he is better than what we have there and I have been saying it for a long time much like others on this forum. If we had given AMN all of Willocks, Elnenys and Ceballos central midfield minutes over the past few years. He would be a genuine 3rd option and a good one at that.
 

Football Manager

Copy & Paste Merchant
Don’t think anyone is saying that Willock and AMN are Scholes and Keane 2.0 but they’ve never been given a consistent opportunity.

If we were competing for a title or even top 4 I’d be ok with not giving them minutes but we might not manage to finish in the top 10 ffs.

Giving potential development minutes to junk players like Ceballos and Elneny just kicks the can down the road and tanks their values but with the added bonus of still being a sh-t team.
You will be the first one to regret if we played them regularly and get 16th at the end.
 

Tir Na Nog

Changes Opinion Every 5 Minutes
Willock and AMN performing for their respective clubs is proof they're not good enough for Arsenal? A-M logic is absolutely flawless I gotta say.

Maybe if we had given them the minutes afford to Ceballos and Elneny would actually get definitive proof. But neither have played all that much and certainly almost never in their preferred position. AMN has barely player midfield since Wenger was he, it's taken him a bit of time but put in a man of the match performance against a side which knocked us out of the FA Cup and took a point off us in the league at home. Apparently that's proof he's not good enough for us.
 

TromsoGooner

Obsessed With Hairspray
Elneny is at least an experienced midfielder who you can count on more or less in terms of positioning and the basic requirements, and not to make big errors in possession. He's nothing special but it's absolutely understandable he is picked before complete midfield projects, very raw and limited midfielders like Willock and AMN. Anyways, Willock is not competition for that position, as mentioned, it's a total pipedream the idea of Willock in a two, unless perhaps in front of a line of 5.

Saliba I don't understand the problem. He looked very raw this past autumn in his games for the U23. He was robbed an important development time both through covid and supposed family issues. As such, he was sent on loan for one more season. If this summer he is not given a chance then I fully understand the criticism--as he should be very much in competition for our starting RCB place next season, alongside Gabriel / Marí--but for now it seems to me rather weird.

Xhaka has his issues and I can be critical of him but honestly comparing him and Willock / AMN as CMs in a pivot is laughable. They're not in the same league
Did I compare Xhaka with Willock and AMN? As you say yourself, Elneny is nothing special and he will never be anyting special. He won`t improve as a player and his market value won`t rise, he`ll either leave when his contract expires or we`ll sell him for a few million pounds.

AMN and Willock are very different players but no one will convince me that Elneny is a much better player than they are. Who knows how good they will become but they are young, talented players and if they not become starters for us they can, unlike Elneny and Ceballos, make us a nice profit if we decide to sell.
 

mirrorstare

Well-Known Member
You'd think he excelled on every match with West Brom from the way the comments are going.

Maybe he posted an awesome snapchat recently or idk.
 

Football Manager

Copy & Paste Merchant
Did I compare Xhaka with Willock and AMN? As you say yourself, Elneny is nothing special and he will never be anyting special. He won`t improve as a player and his market value won`t rise, he`ll either leave when his contract expires or we`ll sell him for a few million pounds.

AMN and Willock are very different players but no one will convince me that Elneny is a much better player than they are. Who knows how good they will become but they are young, talented players and if they not become starters for us they can, unlike Elneny and Ceballos, make us a nice profit if we decide to sell.
Elneny is nothing special, but he is levels above AMN and Willock. You don’t give opportunities to players just because they are young. They have football technique of a Sunday League player.
 

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