Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Alan Hutton believes that it is Arsenal’s steep asking price for Ainsley Maitland-Niles that has put Tottenham off from pursuing a deal for the young defender.
It was reported a few weeks ago that Maitland-Niles was on Tottenham’s radar this summer (The Sun), and the rumour understandably generated a mixed response among the Spurs fan base given his Arsenal connections.
However, since then it has emerged that Matt Doherty is Spurs’ main right-back target, with Jose Mourinho said to be a big fan of the Wolves defender (The Telegraph).
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are reportedly trying to sign Maitland-Niles as the Republic of Ireland international’s replacement (Football.London).
Hutton believes it is not the North London rivalry that put Jose Mourinho’s men off from pursuing a deal for the Arsenal defender but rather the £20million asking price put on his head by the Gunners.
When asked about Spurs’ reluctance to sign the 22-year-old, the former Tottenham full-back told Football Insider: “I don’t think the rivalry’s as bad as you think nowadays – I think it’s more the fee that’s putting Mourinho off.
“£20million for such a young player is maybe putting him off a little bit. I think he is very versatile, he does tick all the boxes, he can play multiple positions, he’s technically good and he’s got a great engine.
“It’s an area where Tottenham need to go and spend money on, is right-back. Obviously he’s fancied Aurier but too many mistakes for my liking. He isn’t going to help them get to where they want to be.
“I think he (Maitland-Niles) would be a good option but I just probably think the fee’s too big for Tottenham at the moment.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Between Maitland-Niles and Doherty, it is clear that the Wolves man would be the much better fit for right-back in our system. While Maitland-Niles is certainly talented, I believe he will be more effective as a defensive midfielder rather than a right-back. In fact, if it is true that Jose was keen on signing the Arsenal man, it was probably due to his versatility rather than because of his potential to evolve into a top full-back.
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