Arsenal offload Ainsley Maitland-Niles, as Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl spots remaining potential and brings in another prospect

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (pic via Southampton FC)

Southampton have confirmed the signing of Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal for the rest of the season.

Maitland-Niles is embarking on his fourth loan spell away from Arsenal, after a spell with Ipswich Town earlier in his career and stints with West Bromwich Albion and AS Roma more recently.

The versatile player, who can feature as a full-back or central midfielder, will now spend a season on the South Coast.

It means he is back in the Premier League after his six months in Serie A at the end of last season. While with Roma, Maitland-Niles won the Europa Conference League as a depth player.

He will be hoping to get more opportunities for regular gametime with Southampton than he did with either Roma or Arsenal. The Gunners were yet to use him this season.

Reports have indicated there will be an option for Southampton to buy Maitland-Niles permanently. However, neither club has confirmed that within their announcements of the move.

Ahead of working with him, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl explained how he wants to make the most of Maitland-Niles’ mix of experience and potential.

He told the club’s official website: “Ainsley is at a good point in his career, with a lot of experience already. But he is also still a player with potential, and he is someone who can definitely help us.

Hasenhuttl predicts further Ainsley Maitland-Niles development

“I think he fits well with us and can develop his game even further during his time here. He can also play in different positions, which is always a good thing, and I am pleased to welcome him as part of our squad.”

Earlier on deadline day, Southampton said goodbye to Oriol Romeu. The long-serving midfielder returned to his native Spain to sign for Girona.

It remains to be seen whether Hasenhuttl is viewing Maitland-Niles as a replacement, or more of a full-back. He mainly played in the latter role during his half a season abroad. In contrast, Arsenal had been using him more centrally.

Southampton have also just announced the signing of Sam Edozie from Manchester City, a 19-year-old winger. The fee could reportedly rise to £10million.

Hasenhuttl said of him: “Samuel is another promising young player who brings good attacking qualities to us, and he is someone who fits very well with our philosophy.

“He is a quick player who has impressive technical ability, so he will be able to help our squad immediately. But we also see a lot of potential in him for the future.

“This is a good opportunity for him, and I know he is excited about the chance to come here and improve.”

And 18-year-old defender Juan Larios also made a move from Man City to Southampton before the transfer deadline.

Southampton are next in action on Saturday when they visit Wolves for a Premier League fixture. Arsenal, meanwhile, have a game away at Manchester United on their agenda next for Sunday.

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