Barcelona looked at Maitland-Niles
FC Barcelona did not have the most productive end to the transfer window, with the club having reportedly missed out on deals for both Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
However, they did manage to solve one of their main issues in the latter stages of the window.
With Nelson Semedo now on Wolves’ books, Barca were in real danger of having to face the first-half of the 2020/21 season without a natural right-back.
The Spanish powerhouse were linked with a number of stoppers to help fill this void, including Norwich’s Max Aarons.
However, it had long appeared to be Sergino Dest who was of the most interest to the Blaugrana.
One prior stumbling block for the La Liga giants, however, was that Champions League holders Bayern Munich also expressed a keen interest in the full-back.
And it was this interest, according to Fabrizio Romano, which, in turn, saw the Spaniards explore alternative options.
One such option? Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Speaking on the latest edition of his Here We Go podcast, Romano stated:
Barcelona obviously were considering other opportunities and between the other opportunities, they also had the name of Maitland- Niles in the list.
Then they signed Sergino Dest, so they had a good chance to sign him and congrats to Barca because he’s a great player.
Arteta key to Maitland-Niles staying put
Barca were not the first club to be linked with Maitland-Niles this past summer.
Wolves were also hotly tipped to swoop for the versatile Englishman back in August/September.
As such, with both clubs attractive potential landing spots, and Maitland-Niles not guaranteed of a starting berth in north London, Arsenal’s fans may have actually been surprised that their side managed to keep hold of the 23-year-old.
Well, Romano also provided some insight into how the Gunners convinced Maitland-Niles to stay put, revealing that Mikel Arteta proved key:
But Maitland Niels will stay obviously with Arsenal and I have to say that I see him like an important player for the future, not just for Arsenal, but also for England. So congrats to Arsenal because it’s not easy to say to Barcelona no, no the players stays here. So also, congrats to Mikel Arteta because he’s been key to keep the player.
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— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) October 7, 2020
This article was edited by Conor Laird.
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