Ainsley Maitland-Niles would be interested in joining Leicester City on loan with the Foxes expressing interest in the Arsenal midfielder, according to reports.
The England international has been out of favour with Mikel Arteta this season, only starting five Premier League matches and seven more in the League Cup and Europa League.
The majority of his appearances have come in a wing-back or full-back role for the Gunners with the versatile 23-year-old preferring to occupy a midfield berth.
With Maitland-Niles struggling for game time, The Athletic journalist David Ornstein claims Leicester City are the latest club to register an interest ahead of the transfer deadline on Monday.
Leicester would be Maitland-Niles’ ‘destination of choice if he is to depart the Emirates Stadium before the transfer window closes’ with West Bromwich Albion and Southampton also interested.
Ornstein adds that the Foxes are ‘the only one potentially looking to include an option to buy, which might appeal’ to Arsenal.
Leicester have been among Maitland-Niles loan suitors, possibly with buy option. #LCFC his top choice but complicated by rivalry, Arsenal’s thin cover + differing views on 23yo’s position. Unclear if pursuit ongoing @TheAthleticUK #AFC #SAINTSFC #WBA #NUFC https://t.co/pirOwkswWc
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 31, 2021
Depleted numbers in midfield mean Leicester could sign another player in that position but ‘it is unclear if the pursuit remains active’ for Maitland-Niles.
The report in The Athletic adds:
‘The chance to occupy his favoured position and challenge towards the summit of the table would hold the strongest appeal for the England international and if that does not happen he may be inclined to fight for his place in North London, rather than move elsewhere.
‘Arsenal have been made aware of Leicester’s stance but are yet to enter talks and, given their prospective rivalry in the second half of the season, a deal could prove difficult.
‘A significant sticking point is Arsenal’s desire for Maitland-Niles to operate at full-back if he makes a temporary switch — Southampton’s commitment on this is one of the reasons why the Gunners would like him to go there — but he is thought not to share that view.’