Roma look set to send Maitland-Niles back to Arsenal – Then what?

It has been widely reported that Jose Mourinho has been very keen from last summer on signing Granit Xhaka from Arsenal, but the Swiss midfielder was instead given a contract extension by Arteta and remains one of the first names on his team sheet.

Rumours continued into the January window, but with Arteta refusing to even talk to them, Mourinho agreed to take Ainslrey Maitland-Niles to Rome instead on a six month loan with an option to buy.

AMN wanted to move away from Arsenal last summer as well, but Arteta persuaded him to stay on as a backup, but he only actually managed 4 full games this season, so it was no surprise he was desperate to find another club in January and jumped at the chance to join Roma.

His time in Italy started very promisingly with him playing the whole 90 minutes in his first two games, but since then he has not completed a full game, and Mourinho has sounded less than impressed. Last month when asked about his two January arrivals, Maitland-Niles and Sergio Oliveira, Mourinho said, “They haven’t impacted a lot.

“Maybe they haven’t settled in yet. They have a hard time grasping the type of football in Italy.

“English and Portuguese football is quite different.

“If you join a team that is not in good condition, it’s not easy to fit in.

They are players who have come to complete a staff. They aren’t ones who make the difference.”

Things reached a head this weekend, when Mourinho left Maitland-Niles out completely, in favour of giving a debut to the 29 year-old Nicola Zalewski, making it even more certain that Maitland-Niles will be returning to the Emirates this summer.

The question is; What will Arteta do with him if he does return?

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Tags Ainsley Maitland-Niles Roma


  1. No offence, but he’s a very average player, not what arsenal need. Even for bench warmer, arsenal need to find a better replacement. I would say sell him this summer for highest bid suitor and invest in another better midfielder.

  2. Not sure about his contract, but he would solve the backup RB issue for next year. Save that money and address backup RB next summer in 2023.

    Perhaps our young players on loan would be ready to step up then in 2023.

  3. Welcome him back with open arms

    Still a decent player to have in the squad and once you are in a squad you have the possibility of getting a game or two and therefore the opportunity to get into the starting 11

    Loans are difficult for all players anywhere, joining a Club mid season who aren’t playing particularly well, working with someone like Mourinho in a different League in a different country as a predominately defensive player is even more difficult

    At least if you are an attacking player you can make your mark a bit, like Joe did at Newcastle last season

    I’m sure AMN would have enjoyed the experience and learnt quite a bit if he does indeed come back to us at the end of the season, so good on him for giving it a go

  4. This could be a blessing in disguise.during his time in Italy,he might realise that it wasn’t that bad at Arsenal and would even settle for being Tomi’s back up, who knows?

  5. he doesnt ”graft” enough for me, he doesnt get down and dirty when its needed, doesnt move across the pitch fast enough its always a ”steady jog” back type thing.

    he has the ability to be a proper baller, but he doesnt have the right mentality to push on.

    not when you have Elneny who has half teh ability but 100X more oompf to get stuck in

    he is a prime example of a top youth player who has failed massively to take the next step in the pro game.

  6. Is it not the REAL truth that AMN was always way overhyped by too many Gooners and was, all along, no more than a distincly average Prem player!
    Not a bad player but nor a good one. Just an average player and he was average all along . Average players do have from time to time a good game or two and they also have a poor game or two That is what AVERAGE gives any club.
    The problem is with fans who either panic or do the opposite and hail an average player who has had a promising game as the next huge talent.

    AMN is a decent man whose only “crime” was to be a lesser player than the many unrealistic fans on here expected and hyped him as being – and God knows we have more than our fair share of THOSE fans – and perhaps, ,just perhaps, he made the mistake of convincing himself that he was better than he really was and is. Sigh!

    As for Mourinho, he is many things but no manager with his CV in football mistakes an average player for a good one. At least , not once he has been tried and found wanting, in Mourinho’s team.
    No, it is those managers who buy and/or play average(at best) players such as XHAKA and let them stay for years and do nothing to change them! Eh AW, UE, MA?

  7. He should be reintegrated for me i’ll pick him ahead of lokonga all day any day.playing him alongside partey or any summer signing in dm will make a strong pairing.

  8. I really think we should move on from him. We should have sold him to wolves when they offerts 20M just like we did Willock. We need to learn to sell avreagera players when they in form so we get domen money

  9. Never seen a player dropped from the squad, then sent out on loan, after putting in a MOTM performance in the previous match.
    Folks on here talking about he needed to step up his game, but when he did he’s relegated to the bench afterwards.
    He should be given a decent run of games as DM because he does break up play and recycles the ball better than both Partey or Xhaka… IJS

    1. Wow,I’m surprised you chastise Arteta for Maitland-Niles’s error,
      He was sent to west rom, not once did he command the midfield, not once,

      No doubt, He’s a fine player but he lacks a lot, he can’t shoot, no eye for passes, can’t cross the ball well, he needs to work on his mentality, ditch midfield and stick to RB, hes strength is he’s pace and stamina,

      He needs to work on his concentration,
      Then just maybe he’ll be the beast he should be.

      1. @Longbenark
        And yet, his motm performance was in the midfield position.
        Guess you ain’t been really paying attention.

  10. Dm is his preferred position why not play him there? saying he’s not good at passes is wrong.

  11. I would welcome him back, provided he is focussed on playing for Arsenal and if need be, be ready to play as RB. He has strength and stamina and these are good traits for a defensive minded RB. No wonder most managers prefer him to play as RB so he has to give up his stubbornness and be flexible. He is home grown and that is another advantage.

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