Nottingham Forest are interested in signing Arsenal utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles this summer. Some previous praise from former Gunners hero Alan Smith should tell the Reds faithful exactly what they’re getting.

Forest will go on the search for several new players before the big kick-off. One area that definitely needs reinforcing is at wing-back and Maitland-Niles can play there.

The Arsenal man has fallen way down the pecking order under Mikel Arteta. He spent the second half of last season on loan at Roma and was sent to West Brom the season prior to that.

Smith praise Maitland-Niles
(Photo; Fabio Rossi; AS Roma; Getty Images)

Maitland-Niles will be desperate to play regular football. He’s been pushed from pillar to post at a couple of different clubs and he will want to put some roots down.

Back in December, Maitland-Niles was handed the chance to shine by Arteta during a narrow win over Watford. During the game, Smith heaped praise on him and Forest fans might be intrigued by what he said.

Smith said during the live broadcast on Sky: “He did well today Maitland-Niles. Not spectacular but he’s moved the ball on. Defensively he’s been sound. It’s good to see.”

Smith praised Maitland-Niles and he could be perfect for Steve Cooper

The 24-year-old is at a decent age to continue developing. As a result, he looks like the ideal signing that could thrive under the management of Forest head coach, Cooper.

Maitland-Niles can play at wing-back or as a central midfielder. That makes him perfect when it comes to Cooper’s desire to be flexible during games.

Smith praise Maitland-Niles
(Photo; Silvia Lore; Getty Images)

The Hale End graduate moves the ball well and has bags of experience to his name. He’s made 132 appearances for the Gunners and will be disappointed not to have been given more of a chance under Arteta.

Being defensively sound makes for interesting reading for Forest fans. They will be under no illusions that next season will be tough at times and being resolute is a must.

Maitland-Niles and his Premier League experience could be vital. With that in mind, Forest would be wise to get this deal over the line.

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