Southampton edge out rivals as Arsenal man is ‘close’ to joining on loan with option to buy

Lewis Oldham
Southampton to sign Maitland-Niles

Southampton look to have beaten rivals to the signing of Ainsley Maitland-Niles as the Arsenal man is reportedly ‘closing in on a loan deal’ to St Mary’s.

Maitland-Niles progressed through the ranks at Arsenal but he has been unable to establish himself as a mainstay in Mikel Arteta’s team.

The Englishman has a loan spell at West Brom in 2021 and more recently he was in Serie A with Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

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The 25-year-old spent most of his spell in Italy on the bench and he has spent the whole of this summer back at Arsenal.

Maitland-Niles is yet to feature for Arsenal this term and he is been heavily linked with a move elsewhere.

Arteta remained coy earlier this month when asked about Maitland-Niles’ situation:

“What we can communicate we always do when it’s the right moment,” Arteta said.

“We discussed that we have a big squad and we’ve allowed some players to leave. Until the end of the window, anything can happen.”

On Maitland-Niles, he continued: “We are addressing those things personally.”

The England international has been hampered by versatility in his career so far as he has not been used in one position consistently.

He has often insisted that he prefers to play in centre-midfield, but he is also more than capable of playing at right-back and left-back.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl conceded last week that they will sign more players before the transfer deadline on Thursday night:

“I don’t want to speak about rumours or transfer news. We play Manchester United at the weekend and it’s a big game for us.

“I want the focus on the important game for us and the games in the next weeks. It’s important to focus on that.”

He added: “There are rumours around. In the final six days, players will come in and players will go out.

“I don’t know who is going out or who is coming in, but I am sure there will be something in each direction.”

Southampton, West Ham United and AFC Bournemouth have all been linked with the midfielder in recent days.

The Athletic are now reporting that Southampton are ‘closing in’ on signing Maitland-Niles on loan.

The report claims that the Saints will have an option to sign Maitland-Niles permanently next summer.

At this point, he will only have one year remaining on his contract at Arsenal.