Kevin Phillips insisted that Ainsley Maitland-Niles would have been “a big loss to Arsenal” after Wolves ended their pursuit of the full-back.
The former England international, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, admitted that if the 23-year-old was to leave the Emirates this summer that the Wanderers would have been a “good club” for him to join.
Sky Sports revealed today that Nuno Espirito Santo’s side had ended their pursuit of the defender despite having claimed that the clubs were in advanced talks earlier this week.
They report that the Gunners are readying a new contract for the full-back, who can also play in midfield, after his Man of the Match display in the Community Shield.
Phillips heaped praise on Maitland-Niles but identified room for improvement in his game.
“I think he would have been a big loss to Arsenal,” he told Football Insider.
“A great young player. An attacking full-back with bags of energy. The biggest thing for him is his final delivery, it needs to get better but it will come.
“That would have been great business for Wolves. They have a track record of improving players. If he is to leave Arsenal I think Wolves would have been a good club to go to and develop with the quality players that are at the club.
“I never saw that one coming because I thought Maitland-Niles would at Arsenal for a long time.”
He was called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad yesterday with Wolves’ Conor Coady – it was both players first invitation to the senior set up.
Maitland-Niles made 33 appearances for the Gunners last season, his versatility saw him played at right-back, centre-midfield and on the left wing.