Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been on Arsenal’s books since he was six.
Eighteen years on he could finally be set to find a new home.
Maitland-Niles made it clear in the summer that he wanted to move on in search of regular first-team football.
He practically begged the club to let him leave – albeit only on a temporary deal – in August after Arsenal rejected a loan offer from Everton, as reported by Metro Sport.
Maitland-Niles tagged Arsenal in an Instagram Story that featured three crying emojis and the message: “All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play.”
Since then he has started just two Premier League matches, with his last appearance of any sort coming as a substitute in November’s 4-0 defeat at Liverpool.
But there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the 24-year-old, with Jose Mourinho’s Roma set to ride to his rescue in January.
According to ESPN‘s James Olley, Roma sporting director Tiago Pinto has been in touch with Arsenal about Maitland-Niles, who is said to be open to a move to the Italian club.
Olley believes that Roma would prefer to sign Maitland-Niles on an initial loan with an option to make the move permanent, although they have apparently already begun discussions over a potential four-year contract.
Five-time England international Maitland-Niles may be hoping that more first-team football could improve his chances of getting back into Gareth Southgate’s plans.
But a move to Roma did not do anything to resurrect the England career of Chris Smalling, who moved to the Eternal City from Manchester United in 2019.