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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