The London club defender Ainsley Maitland-Niles could make a shock move to Tottenham after Arsenal’s hierarchy put the versatile teenager up for sale against the Spanish manager’s wishes, according to reports.
U21 England international is eager for more first-team football having started only one league match after the campaign restart, in an end-of-season dead rubber against Watford, though he impressed against both Man City and Chelsea in the FA Cup.
Despite using him sparingly, the Spanish manager is keen to keep Ainsley in his squad particularly with a UEL season to prepare for, though Gunners decision-makers feel differently.
Arsenal need to raise funds in order to spend this summer and believe they can get as much as £30m for Ainsley, a huge sum for a squad player and have overruled Mikel Arteta.
Now Spurs have registered their interest in the Englishman and made it known they would be keen to prise him away from their rivals. The 22-year-old defender is believed to favour staying in London, with Fulham, West Ham United and Crystal Palace also interested and prepared to give him the chance to stay in the capital.
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho is said to be particularly attracted to how versatile he is, with Ainsley able to play in a variety of defensive and midfield roles. While Gunners hierarchy are hoping to get £30m, they may have to settle for a fee closer to £20m.
Were the Gunners to sell an academy product to their north London rivals it could create even more tension among a fanbase who have criticised the decision to make 55 redundancies while offering a mammoth contract to 32-year-old free agent Willian.
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