By Kevin Campbell

23rd Dec, 2020 | 6:30am

Arsenal Exclusive: Campbell drops big Maitland-Niles claim ahead of January window

Kevin Campbell has hailed Ainsley Maitland-Niles as the “best” Arsenal player of late and urged Mikel Arteta not to let him go in January.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Gunners striker claimed the 23-year-old must be a big part of the future at the crisis-hit club.

Maitland-Niles has made 16 appearances in all competitions this season, playing both in midfield and as a right-wing back.

According to Sky Sports, he was the subject of interest from Wolves in the summer but the player chose to stay at the Emirates and fight for his place under Arteta.

Since then he has earned his first England call up, making five substitute appearances in total.

When asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on Maitland-Niles’ development this year, Campbell said:

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“Maitland-Niles has been Arsenal’s best player over the past couple of games. Against Everton and against Southampton I thought he was superb.

“He is very strong and he’s an international now. He looks the part.

“I am not sure what Mikel Arteta is going to do with him looking forward to January but I think Maitland-Niles deserves a spot in the team.

“I would like to see him in midfield because he is very athletic. I would like to see him operate in the centre of the pitch because I do not think there is enough energy in there at times. Not enough people take chances.”

In other news, it can be REVEALED that an Arsenal defender has opened talks with the club over a new long-term deal.