Arsenal and AS Roma have reportedly agreed on a loan deal for 24-year-old utility man Ainsley Maitland-Niles, without an option to buy.
According to The Athletic, Arsenal have reached an agreement with AS Roma over a loan move for Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The Serie A giants wanted to include an option to buy earlier, and upon refusal, they are prepared to take the player on a straight loan, with personal terms yet to be agreed.
The Ainsley Maitland-Niles story is set to conclude with AS Roma increasingly looking the likely destination for the 24-year-old. The Serie A heavyweights have been chasing the utility man for a few weeks now and wanted to take advantage of him having just 18 months left on his deal.
As explained in an earlier report, Roma intended to take the player on an initial loan until the end of the campaign and have the option of signing him permanently. The Giallorossi wanted to help the player secure regular game time, much like they have done with Tammy Abraham, who they signed permanently in the summer from Chelsea.
However, Arsenal turned down their request and have countered Roma’s proposal with just a dry loan. The Serie A giants have now agreed to it, and it is just a matter of time until the move is finalised. There is still the small matter of deciding on personal terms, which should not be a big hurdle.
Maitland-Niles has also courted interest from Everton, who pushed hard late in the summer window to sign him. However, despite retaining their interest, nothing has come forward from the Toffees in terms of an offer. The 24-year-old utility man pushed Arsenal to agree a move with the Toffees back then, although their terms did not even come close to convincing the Gunners.
At Arsenal, Maitland-Niles has widely been used as a full-back under most managers. Arsene Wenger started the trend, followed by Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta. However, the Spaniard has reverted to using the player in his preferred midfield position this term, albeit sporadically.
Maitland-Niles has been impressive in the midfield role, earning a man of the match accolade for his exploits against Watford earlier in the season. However, with Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga firmly ahead of him in the pecking order, a move away from Arsenal to secure regular game time seems logical.
It remains to be seen how he performs at Roma and if Arsenal go about finding a replacement, if the 24-year-old midfielder seeks a permanent departure at the end of the season.