AS Roma are keen on signing Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal for the second part of the season, according to Sky Sports.
The Gialorossi, under the command of former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho, were close to taking Granit Xhaka from Arsenal last summer, but the deal reportedly fell through at the eleventh hour and the Swiss international ended up staying put; much like Maitland-Niles himself who, following a bight loan at West Bromwich Albion, was reportedly keen on joining Everton.
However, it seems Mourinho and Roma are still keen on taking someone from Arsenal’s midfield ranks to the Italian capital, if only on loan.
The 24-year-old is a highly useful player to have in the squad. He takes being versatile to extreme lengths, being quite capable of playing on either flank, either as a fullback, a wingback or a winger, in addition to his preferred role in central midfield. However, he’s not too close to being a regular started under Mikel Arteta, and it’s quite understandable if he decides that he wants to pursue game-time elsewhere.
In all competitions this term, Maitland-Niles has made a total of 11 appearances, scoring once. Eight of those matches came in the Premier League; just two starts.
All things considered, it’s hard to imagine Maitland-Niles staying at Arsenal past next summer, given that he’ll be entering the final 12 months of his contract and that there are no indications towards talks about a new one being held. It will be the club’s final chance to get a decent fee for his services, and putting him into the shop window wearing the Roma shirt obviously makes sense in that aspect.
Xhaka, Thomas Partey, and Albert Sambi Lokonga are all ahead of him in the pecking order. Mohamed Elneny, however, might play a big role in deciding what happens with Maitland-Niles next month. If the Egyptian stays put to provide further squad depth in the middle section, the five-time England international might indeed be allowed to leave. If not, Arteta could be reluctant to see the department arguably stretched too thin.