Ainsley Maitland-Niles is close to reaching an agreement to join Roma on loan from Arsenal for the remainder of the season.
Roma need reinforcements in the full-back positions in Jose Mourinho’s squad but have not budgeted to spend large amounts of money in the January transfer window, so the Serie A club are exploring the loan market.
Maitland-Niles, 24, has made eight Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season, but has not featured for the Gunners since November.
The feeling at Roma is Mourinho will be able to help Maitland-Niles rediscover his best form, as has happened with Tammy Abraham, who joined in the summer from Chelsea and has scored 12 times in 25 games in all competitions since arriving at the Stadio Olimpico.
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The utility player, who can operate across midfield or in both full-back positions, wanted to join Everton in the summer having spent the second half of last term on loan at West Brom.
During the summer transfer window, Maitland-Niles made a plea on social media for a move, but the Gunners opted against sanctioning a departure and he ended up agreeing to stay on until January.
Writing on Instagram in August, he said: “All I want to do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m going to play.”
A graduate of Arsenal’s Hale End academy, Maitland-Niles has registered 132 appearances for the club and won three FA Cups over the course of his career at the Emirates Stadium. His Arsenal contract expires in 2023.
Meanwhile, speculation is continuing to mount over the futures of Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, whose contracts expire in the summer, while Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang was recently stripped of the captaincy following a disciplinary breach.
Arteta wants to clear ‘cloud’ hanging over Arsenal strikers
Mikel Arteta has revealed he is trying to resolve what he sees as a “cloud” of varying issues hanging over his Arsenal forward options.
The Arsenal manager said: “We have a cloud and the cloud is there. At the moment we’re not able to change it.
“We’re working on it to try to make it as small as possible and as clear as possible but it’s the situation we are in because contracts have details, the timing of them is tricky and we are trying to resolve it.
“It depends on every single case, depends on the player’s situation, the minutes he’s playing, his willingness or the [contract] offer that you have, but it’s something that you have to consider.”