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Serie A club ‘in talks’ for unhappy Arsenal star but Everton still circling

Neil Foster
Cedric Soares and Alexandre Lacazette celebrate for Arsenal

Reports claim Roma are ‘in talks’ with Arsenal over the possibility of signing Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan this winter.

The 24-year-old is, once again, finding game time hard to come by at the Emirates. The versatile midfielder has made only two Premier League starts among eight appearances. He has played three times in the EFL Cup and will hope to feature when the Gunners face Liverpool in the semi-finals.

However, he may not be at the club. ESPN are reporting that the Italian club’s sporting director Tiago Pinto has already spoken to Arsenal about Maitland-Niles.

And the Londoner is ‘open to the move’, with the Giallorossi looking for a loan with option to buy deal. Dialogue has begun on a potential four-year permanent deal if all parties agree in the summer.

But a fee for that part of the deal has yet to be agreed. Capped five times by England, Maitland-Niles came up through the Arsenal youth setup before making his debut in December 2014.

However, he has yet to nail down a regular starting berth with the north Londoners. He spent the second half of last season on loan with West Brom, enjoying 12 league outings.

The ex-Ipswich Town loan star returned to the capital but made his desires clear.

“All I want to do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m going to play,” he wrote on Instagram.

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Everton close to Maitland-Niles deal

It seemed as though Everton would sign the youngster. But he engaged in clear-the-air talks with Arteta and opted to remain with his current employers.

Back in November, Arteta said of Maitland-Niles: “I see a different player in terms of his urgency, his commitment and the clarity in his play and purpose.

“Since we made the decision I was clear with what I was seeing, I wanted him to stay because he was going to be useful.

“He has a huge talent which is he is versatile enough to adapt to any position on the pitch.”

But Toffees boss Rafa Benitez still holds an interest. And it was reported in September that they will try to sign him once again in January.

Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Should the club green light his winter exit, it will be a straight shootout between the two clubs mentioned for his signature.

READ MORE: Exit rumours grow as new suitors added to list for star Arsenal ‘willing to sell’