Jose Mourinho is set to cost Arsenal millions by giving Mikel Arteta a fresh decision to make over the future of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, per a report.
The versatile 24-year-old had long sought a move away from Arsenal in order to generate regular gametime. Maitland-Niles had taken to Instagram in a heartfelt plea to snag a move during the summer. However, he was made to wait until the winter window before finally leaving on loan to Roma.
And since arriving in the Italian capital, things have not gone entirely to plan.
Maitland-Niles has featured in each Serie A match for Roma since joining on January 8. But after starting his Roma career with two successive 90 minute displays, he has since seen his time on the pitch curtailed.
He has been hooked before the hour mark on two occasions and was handed a short 14-minute cameo off the bench in another clash.
According to the Mirror (citing Calciomercato), that stems from Maitland-Niles struggling to catch the eye.
Mourinho turns back on Maitland-Niles option
As such, the report states his performances have been ‘so disappointing’ that Roma boss Mourinho has ‘already begun’ searching for replacements for his position in the squad ahead of the summer window. Barcelona’s Sergino Dest is cited in the piece.
That means it’s highly unlikely the Serie A side will trigger the option to turn Maitland-Niles’ loan deal permanent. The outlet state that option is set between the £8m-£12m mark.
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Arsenal will receive nothing unless he turns his performances around over the coming months. If he were to return to north London he would have just one year left on his Arsenal deal.
That will give Arsenal boss Arteta a decision to make with the 24-year-old’s career at a crossroads. It appears unlikely Maitland-Niles will sign a new contract given his past struggles at the Emirates.
But Arsenal will not want to lose a saleable asset for nothing. And if they have no intention of giving him adequate minutes on the pitch, a permanent sale could be on the cards if a suitor can be found.
Arsenal back in for Brazilian midfielder
Meanwhile, a report claims Arsenal have already revisited the prospect of signing midfielder Danilo having missed out on the Palmeiras star in January.
Mikel Arteta was linked with a move for Danilo early in the winter window. However, reports of an £86m release clause seemed to cool Arsenal’s interest.
The Gunners had sought to strengthen their central midfield options, with options also including Juventus’ Arthur Melo.
None would ultimately arrive, but according to reports by Bolavip, per the Mirror, technical director Edu is still very much interested in Brazilian Danilo. The report suggests Arsenal have ‘conducted a fresh consultation’.
They may launch a bid in the summer but getting a deal over the line will not be easy. Palmeiras rate the 20-year-old very highly and do not want to sell their prized asset.
Danilo was named third best player of the recent Club World Cup tournament in which Palmeiras finished runners-up to Chelsea. Other clubs may well enter the picture next summer, with West Ham also linked, and his price tag could be an issue.
However, Arsenal officials are convinced they can get him for considerably less that the current release clause.