Roma sporting director Tiago Pinto has confirmed that talks are ongoing with Arsenal over Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and the club are close to signing him.
The midfielder has been out-of-favour for a starting role in the Premier League this term. He has played just 472 minutes across all competitions so far.
He was keen on securing a loan exit to Everton last summer, but manager Mikel Arteta intervened to block his potential move before the transfer deadline.
However, it appears he has now been granted the chance to leave the club on loan. Speaking to DAZN via Football Italia, Pinto acknowledged that a deal is close.
He said: “I can say we are talking to Arsenal for Niles, there is something happening and he is close.”
Maitland-Niles has hardly played under Mikel Arteta this season, but it was anticipated that he could stay until the end of the month at least.
With Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny away on international duty, the club find themselves short in terms of specialist central midfield options.
Granit Xhaka and Albert Sambi Lokonga are the only senior choices, but Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe are capable of playing in the position.
Highly-rated club graduate Charlie Patino is the next in line. The 18-year-old had a terrific debut against Sunderland last month, scoring off the bench.
He has been training on and off with the first-team squad, and could feature in Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie against Nottingham Forest on the road.
With Maitland-Niles’ likely exit, it remains to be seen whether the club are weighing up a move for another midfielder.
The club have been linked with Paris Saint-Germain’s Georginio Wijnaldum lately. The Dutchman is eyeing a Premier League return amid his limited game time.
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