AS Roma have contacted Arsenal with a concrete offer for the services of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, multiple sources have reported. Apparently, the offer consists of taking the 24-year-old on loan for the rest of the season with an option to make the deal permanent for €10 million in the summer. The Gunners are currently mulling over it.
Jose Mourinho, in charge of the team at Roma, is believed to be very keen on Maitland-Niles’s versatility. Preferring to play in the middle of the park, he is quite capable of doing a fine job on either flank, particularly on the right, either as a fullback or as a winger.
However, Roma aren’t able to afford to buy Maitland-Niles straight away. They will try to sell Pau Lopez, Cengiz Under and Justin Kluivert between now and the summer in order to raise the funds needed.
The future of Maitland-Niles has been uncertain for quite a long time. His versatility seems to have hindered, rather than helped his status at Arsenal, with specialist players remaining firmly ahead of him in the pecking order in all positions. He has very little chance of being picked ahead of either Granit Xhaka or Thomas Partey in central midfield, while the likes of Tahekiro Tomiyasu, Bukayo Saka, Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Martinelli seem to have taken the remaining positions he can play in. With that in mind, it may be time for the man who has five caps as a senior England international to his name, to move on.
Interestingly enough, Maitland-Niles has managed just three goals and eight assists in 132 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions, which feels largely underwhelming despite the fact that goal contributions are not his primary job on the pitch. Being on Arsenal’s books his entire career so far, he had a loan spell with Ipswich Town in 2015-16, and with West Brom for the second half of last season.