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Arsenal Star Set To Join Premier League Rival After Mikel Arteta’s Comments

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Arsenal Star Set To Join Premier League Rival After Mikel Arteta's Comments
Arsenal Star Set To Join Premier League Rival After Mikel Arteta's Comments (Feature Image credit: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal star, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has confirmed that he will be joining a Premier League rival in the summer, ending his long stint with the Gunners.

The 25-year-old has been on loan at Southampton for this season and has no plans to return to the Emirates next term.

Maitland-Niles left Arsenal to join the Saints with the goal of finding more game time and playing in midfield.

However, he has played only 22 games in all competitions for the struggling side, starting only 14 of those.

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READ ALSO: Manchester United Set To Rival Arsenal For Celta Vigo Star Gabri Veiga Dubbed “Amazing”

He first joined Arsenal’s youth academy at the tender age of six and made his first-team debut at 17 in late 2014 under former boss Arsene Wenger. In total, he has played 132 times for the Gunners, scoring three goals and registering eight assists.

However, according to the player himself, a permanent switch to the Saints would very much be to his liking.

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Maitland-Niles “more than happy” to join Southampton outright

Confirming his own exit, Maitland-Niles told the outlet: “It’s been a great journey but it has come to an end now (at Arsenal). It’s time for a fresh start and to find a new home.

“I’m looking forward to that but, at the same time, my head’s not quite there yet and it’s all about what’s happening now with Southampton.

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“I’m just fully focused on trying to help us stay up and stay positive on a day-to-day basis and win games. When the time gets closer towards the end of the season, I’ll have something else to think about. But right now, I’m just focused on football and the task at hand.

“Southampton is a great club to be at and progress and get some minutes under my belt. Of course, if they were to make an offer, I’ll be more than happy to stay.”

READ ALSO: Arsenal Battle Manchester United And Liverpool To Sign Chelsea Star In Summer

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Logic dictates a move for a player on Premier League-level wages is only likely to be explored if Southampton avoid relegation to the Championship. They currently sit rock bottom in the table and four points from safety.

In addition, the futures of several high-profile Arsenal stars are also up in the air this summer. Folarin Balogun has been scoring goals for fun while on loan at Reims in Ligue 1, but he’s reluctant to be loaned out for a third time.

Reiss Nelson is out of contract at the end of the season and has attracted interest from AC Milan, Aston Villa, Fulham, West Ham, and Brighton.

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Meanwhile, Emile Smith Rowe is being courted by Aston Villa, while Ainsley Maitland-Niles, currently on loan at Southampton, will leave as a free agent.

READ ALSO: Chelsea’s Nightmare Final 3 Games: Man United, Arsenal And Man City Clash Dates Confirmed

The Athletic claims that the 25-year-old versatile midfielder is “set to leave” and that Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta have decided against activating the option in his contract that would extend his stay for an additional 12 months.

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Arsenal is set to undergo significant changes this summer, with several players either leaving or having their futures in doubt. While fans may be sad to see some of their favorites go, the club will undoubtedly be looking to rebuild and strengthen its squad ahead of the new season.

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