Everton and AS Roma are set for a transfer duel in the pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
According to The Athletic, Ainsley Maitland-Niles could be set for a move away from Emirates in January. The midfielder has no future at Arsenal, with two clubs in Everton and AS Roma ready to battle it out to sign him up on a potential loan deal next month.
Maitland-Niles was close to joining Everton in the summer transfer window, but the move was blocked by Arsenal. But it appears the Englishman is prepared to leave North London in January after once again failing to make an impression under Mikel Arteta. Injuries haven’t been kind either, leading to a restricted game-time of just 283 minutes of Premier League action for the Englishman.
The Arsenal academy graduate has evidently fallen behind Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in the pecking order. His first-team chances could dwindle further, with the Gunners prepared to sign a new midfielder in the winter transfer window. Guido Rodriguez has emerged as one of the options, whereas Arteta is also keeping an eye on Arthur Melo.
Coincidentally, Juventus have recently approached Everton regarding a swap deal for Lucas Digne. They have reportedly offered the Toffees a chance to sign Arthur if they sanction the Frenchman’s move in the other direction.
Nevertheless, Maitland-Niles’ precarious position at Emirates has put Everton on red alert. The Merseyside giants are desperate to bulk up their options in the middle of the park after a disastrous start to the campaign. The Englishman, in that regard, could be a logical addition to the side given his experience in English football.
The 24-year-old has indeed notched up 132 competitive appearances for Arsenal while winning five caps for the England national team. In addition to his experience, the midfielder’s hard-working nature and tenacity could make him a vital cog in Rafa Benitez’s disciplined tactical philosophy.
However, the report suggests Everton are set to face stiff competition from AS Roma in the pursuit of Maitland-Niles. The Giallorossi have given a good account of themselves in front of English players following the success stories of Chris Smalling and, most recently, Tammy Abraham.
It appears Maitland-Niles, too, now favours a move to Rome, where he can partner up with the in-form English international. It could serve as a massive blow for Everton, who haven’t had much luck in the market so far, although the Toffees are reportedly closing in on their first January signing in the form of Vitaliy Mykolenko.