Long-time Gunner Ainsley Maitland-Niles among several Arsenal departures

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles Credit: Michael P Ryan (ETPhotos)

In an upcoming shuffle of the Arsenal squad, a host of players, including Ainsley Maitland-Niles, are set to leave as their contracts expire on June 30, 2023.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who joined the club as a six-year-old, opened up about his impending departure in a conversation with Arsenal's official website.

A mix of melancholy and pride marked his words as he shared, “Words can’t describe how I’m feeling to be honest, it’s been a very emotional journey. Having supported the club growing up and coming through the ranks, I can only be happy with what I’ve achieved since I’ve been here."

The 25-year-old midfielder, who has worn the Arsenal colours in 132 matches, also started in the 2020 FA Cup final win against Chelsea and the Community Shield victory against Liverpool.

Other first team, under-18s, and under-23s players on the departure list include Zach Awe, Joel Ideho, George Lewis, Matt Smith, and Tom Smith.

The club is also in ongoing contract negotiations with Reiss Nelson, while a number of scholars, Kaleel Green, Alexandar Kovacevic, Tino Quamina, and Mathaeus Roberts, will also bid adieu at the end of their contracts.

The club's women's team will see the exit of Mana Iwabuchi, Rafaelle Souza, and Fran Stenson, following the expiry of their deals.

Even as Maitland-Niles prepares for his next move, his affection for the club remains strong. He concluded, "I’ll always be here to support the team and the boys and hopefully they can win something in the future. For any supporters out there, just be true to the team. They’ve come a very, very long way this season and it’s been fantastic to watch. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner!”