The Ainsley Maitland-Niles transfer saga rolls on. He is reportedly unhappy with his situation at Arsenal and would like a move in the January window. The latest suitor is Roma, who would like a loan with an option to buy. ESPNFC reports that Everton are also interested. The Arsenal midfielder has made 8 Premier League appearances for the club this season, playing 263 minutes total.
Oft-linked but yet to move, Maitland-Niles has been a hot topic any time the window opens. The midfielder was reportedly close to joining Everton this summer (and Wolves last summer), but both times Arsenal chose to keep him in North London. The Everton move falling through seemed to prompt Maitland-Niles to take to Instagram and post “all I want to do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m going to play.” A week or two later, he and Arteta had a private, “clear the air” conversation to discuss his place at the club and smooth things over.
Beyond the normal caveats about transfer rumors, there is a significant issue with Arsenal moving Ainsley Maitland-Niles in January. During AFCON with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny away from the club is when Arsenal were most likely to need Maitland-Niles to play meaningful minutes. It wouldn’t be a stretch to guess that part of why Arsenal held onto him this fall was specifically for this period of the schedule. With Partey and Elneny away, the Gunners have just Granit Xhaka, Sambi Lokonga, and Maitland-Niles to play at the base of the midfield.
I don’t think Arsenal will move Maitland-Niles unless they have a replacement central midfielder lined up and the transfer nearly signed, sealed, and delivered.