Why Maitland-Niles deal might not go through
According to the ever-reliable David Ornstein, Italian side Roma have launched a formal offer for Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The 24-year-old has hardly seen any action this season and is desperate to move away from North London to get regular playing opportunities.
Jose Mourinho is believed to be intrigued at the prospect of working with the Hale End academy graduate.
🚨 Roma have now submitted bid to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan with buy option in summer. Arsenal yet to reply. #ASRoma want him asap or will pursue other targets. 24yo only interested in Roma or minded to stay at #AFC (contract 2023) @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/hBks95Wrv0
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 3, 2022
However, there is one strong reason why the deal might not go through in the current transfer window.
In Ornstein’s The Athletic report, it is clearly stated that if the deal isn’t completed swiftly, the Giallorossi will move on and target alternatives to the Arsenal man.
The problem is that Mikel Arteta only has three senior midfielders to pick from namely Granit Xhaka, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ainsley Maitland-Niles himself.
Due to AFCON, Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny have left a massive plug open. And if the Gunners allow Maitland-Niles to depart, they will only have two senior players to choose from at the center of the park.
🚨 AS Roma have now submitted an official bid, a loan with an option to buy, for Maitland-Niles according to David Ornstein!
— AFTV (@AFTVMedia) January 3, 2022
An injury to either Xhaka or Lokonga can disrupt Arsenal’s impressive form. It can also prove to be detrimental in their hopes of finishing within the Champions League places.
A rational decision would be to move on Maitland-Niles closer to the end of the transfer window, when either of Partey or Elneny will be back. But Roma does not want to go that route.
The second option Arsenal have is to move forward their plans to sign a central midfielder. Lyon’s Bruno Guimarães, Lille’s Renato Sanchez, Monchengladbach’s Denis Zakaria, Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz and several more have already been linked to the North London outfit.
The third option, which looks the most likely in the current climate is Maitland-Niles staying until the summer.
Let’s see if there’s any movement on a midfielder this week. Maitland-Niles holds the key. There is time before the game against Spurs.
— Eduardo Hagn (@EduardoHagn) January 3, 2022
Assurances regarding playing time might persuade the Englishman to stay put for at least six months. It might also be the best solution.
Writer’s opinion: if Maitland-Niles is moved on, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it to be honest, if we bring in a fresh body.
But winter transfer windows are always complicated. Arsenal might not get their man until the summer.
There is also an option to pursue a loan move, which would be a stop-gap solution. Bringing in PSG’s Georginio Wijnaldum is an attractive proposition.
But we as Arsenal fans have been hurt several times by the club, who has tried to fix long-term problems with short-term solutions.
Things are about to get intriguing, and I just hope our club makes the best possible decision.
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