Maitland-Niles set to face Newcastle after being denied move by Arsenal
Maitland-Niles set to face Newcastle after being denied Toon move by Arsenal
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Maitland-Niles set to face Newcastle after being denied Toon move by Arsenal

Newcastle United wanted to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles during the summer, and he was keen on a move to St James’ Park. However, the midfielder will instead come up against the Magpies this weekend.

It’s Southampton vs Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, as Eddie Howe’s side travel to the south coast in search of four consecutive wins. His team are enjoying a sensational run of form, and will fancy their chances of carrying on their unbeaten run.

That’s what the pundits are expecting, with both Paul Merson and Chris Sutton tipping the Magpies to be victorious once again.

A win on the road would delight the travelling Toon Army, while it could serve as a painful reminder of what could have been for one Southampton player.

Maitland-Niles wanted to join Newcastle but was denied

After securing deals for Matt Targett, Nick Pope, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak, Newcastle were keen for one more addition late in the summer transfer window.

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

There was a need for a centre-midfielder after Jonjo Shelvey’s injury, while there was also space for a winger to arrive. And in Maitland-Niles, the club identified a player who can do both.

The 25-year-old was a loan target for Howe, who was keen to bring in the unwanted Arsenal academy graduate. He wouldn’t have been a blockbuster signing, but he could have been another astute addition.

But instead he went to Southampton on loan. It didn’t feel like a major blow, but the reason he didn’t move to St James’ Park is very interesting.

After the transfer window closed, the Telegraph reported that Maitland-Niles was keen on joining Newcastle. However, Arsenal reportedly wouldn’t let the deal happen as they didn’t want to send him to a rival.

That was quite a shock, given the gulf between the two clubs – even if it was Newcastle who ended the Gunners’ Champions League dream last season. It proved that the Magpies were already considered a threat, and Arsenal were right to think like that.

Even without Maitland-Niles, Newcastle are fourth in the league. As for Southampton, they are no danger to Mikel Arteta’s side down in 17th.

The England international has made five appearances so far for the Saints, and will hope to make it six on Sunday against Newcastle.

If Howe’s side are victorious, it will serve as a very clear reminder to AMN of what could have been had it not been for his parent club Arsenal. He could have been part of something special at Newcastle, but was robbed of that opportunity.