According to Adam Blackmore of BBC Radio Solent, Southampton have ended their interest in recruiting Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal owing to frustrations with the star’s representatives.
Blackmore reports that the Saints, who sit 11th and were one of the better sides in for Maitland-Niles, became ‘increasingly frustrated’ with the versatile ace’s representatives during transfer negotiation.
Blackmore adds that Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side will ‘pursue’ other targets between now and the 11pm transfer deadline. The side are perhaps in need of a full-back due to Kyle Walker-Peters’ injury.
The Athletic (subscription required) reported on Sunday that Leicester and Newcastle are the other Premier League sides eyeing the 23-year-old, who is set to leave on loan to boost his career short-term.
The Southampton development will certainly please Leicester and Newcastle, but with their apparent transfer boost coming as a result of difficult representatives, that doesn’t paint the ace in an ideal light.
Southampton have ended their interest in Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles, after becoming increasingly frustrated in negotiations with his reps#saintsfc will continue to pursue other targets between now & 11pm
— Adam Blackmore (@AdamBlackmore) February 1, 2021
The Athletic reported earlier that Maitland-Niles wishes to close out the season with more regular first-team football – having been on a sporadic option for Arsenal so far – in a bid to increase his chances of making England’s squad for the Euros, having won five caps for the Three Lions since breaking in.
The Athletic add that West Bromwich Albion were a side keen on Maitland-Niles but their position as nailed-on relegation candidates leave Arsenal unwilling to loan the ace there, despite the fact that the Hawthorns outfit would be best positioned to offer the energetic star a key role.
It’s added that the club’s plans for Maitland-Niles and the player’s himself are different, Arsenal want the ace to be deployed as a full-back – the position he’s primarily featured in since breaking into the Gunners’ first-team a few years ago – whereas Ainsley wants to play in his natural midfield role for once.
Maitland-Niles is certainly set to leave, having already said his goodbyes to his Arsenal teammates during training.