Exclusive: Ex-Spur suggests real reason Tottenham not signing Maitland-Niles
Alan Hutton believes a £20million price tag has stopped Tottenham from chasing a deal for Arsenal utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The former Spurs and Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes the Gunners star ticks a lot of boxes for the Lilywhites.
The Daily Mail report that Spurs were keen on adding the 22-year-old, who can play in midfield and at right-back, to their ranks and that Arsenal had slapped a £20million asking price on his head.
Football Insider have since revealed that Wolves are now the frontrunners for the Gunners’ star but that Newcastle have made a move to hijack what looked close to being a done deal.
Hutton believes that finances, rather than the north London rivalry, has been the biggest hurdle for Spurs and suggests they were not willing to meet Arsenal’s demands.
“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,” Hutton told Football Insider.
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“£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.”
Maitland-Niles is a graduate of the Arsenal youth system and has played 100 times for the Gunners to date.
He made a total of 33 appearances last season and was used primarily as a right-back by Mikel Arteta.