Everton are poised to ready their sights on Ainsley Maitland-Niles once again. They have identified England international as a possible winter target, taking advantage of his precarious situation at Arsenal right now. Everton were even linked with a late summer swoop for Ainsley.
But a loan move was blocked by the Gunners at the eleventh hour, frustrating the footballer, who later posted a controversial story on Instagram over his lack of playing time. However, it appears the Toffees are prepared to offer him a lifeline by completing a permanent swoop in winter.
The Gunners have received a fair amount of criticism for the treatment of their academy star. However, the Spanish manager is insistent that the English full-back, who was coming on the back of a rather successful loan stint at West Brom last campaign, is included in his first-team plans and is likely being considered as a utility footballer.
It might not bode well for the 24-year-old full-back, who can play right-back but prefers to play in a central midfield role. Ainsley played in a similar position for West Brom last campaign, though it remains unlikely that the Toffees are considering him for such a role.
In fact, Rafael Benitez could be primarily targeting the Englishman as a possible successor for Seamus Coleman. The long-serving full-back is in the final phase of his career and recently picked up a hamstring injury during the international break.
It has effectively limited Rafael Benitez’s options, and the Toffees will certainly rue not meeting Genk’s demands for Daniel Munoz in the summer.