Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles is ‘unhurt and at home’ after being involved in a major road traffic accident.
The 23-year-old is due back at the Emirates Stadium this summer after spending the second half of the 2020/21 campaign on loan at West Brom, who were relegated back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Highways England reported on Wednesday morning that an accident had taken place on the M25 motorway, between junctions 24 and 25. Emergency services were called to the scene, and there were soon images circulating on social media that appeared to show Maitland-Niles involved in a crash with another vehicle.
That has now been confirmed, with Metropolitan Police releasing a statement that revealed officers had attended the crash site at around 06:10 BST. “Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. There are no reports of any injuries. Enquiries into the circumstances are ongoing,” it read.
The BBC report Arsenal have confirmed their player is unhurt and at home.
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Maitland-Niles’ Arsenal future remains up in the air. He was sent out on loan after failing to convince Mikel Arteta that he was worthy of a place in his preferred position of central midfield, despite forcing his way to Gareth Southgate’s England setup at the beginning of the season.
His inability to do so ended up costing him a place in the Three Lions’ squad for Euro 2020, and he’s currently in limbo after his move to The Hawthorns on a temporary basis resulted in relegation. Speaking in June, Maitland-Niles told the Telegraph that he wasn’t yet sure whether Arsenal wanted him back, revealing his desire to know where he stands so he can plot his next career move – if needed.
“If I was to get a phone call from someone at Arsenal and they said they’d like a meeting tomorrow, then it would be easier that way,” he said. “They can tell me whether they’ve got plans to play me in the future or if they want to sell me.
“I’ve heard they want to make some space [in the squad] and some money so I’m not sure. I want a decision. I want some clarity. And then hopefully I can get to work with whoever I need to get to work with. Whether that is finding a new club or whether that is carrying on with my training.
“I would like some kind of indication of what is happening.”
If Arsenal’s transfer activity is anything to go by, it’s unlikely Maitland-Niles will get another chance in north London. The club are actively pursuing players who operate in the heart of midfield, including Lille’s Renato Sanches, Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma among others.