Everton are hoping to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal ahead of the transfer window deadline, claims a reliable source.
Rafa Benitez is looking for a right-back and the 23-year-old England hopeful is on their radar, according to Sky Sports News.
Arsenal are understood to be open to letting the versatile player leave again on loan.
Last season Maitland-Niles spend the second half of the season at West Brom. He played the majority of his games in central midfield, but Everton want the player as a right-back.
“It was just more of a chance for me to show what I’m capable of other than sitting on the bench for the rest of the season and rotting away,” he said of his loan spell.
There is understood to be rival interest in Maitland-Niles, but “relations are good” between Everton and Arsenal, per the report.
Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott have both moved north between the clubs in recent years. While Gunners boss Mikel Arteta “remains highly regarded by the board at Goodison Park”.
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Those factors suggest that Everton are heading the queue to land Maitland-Niles, who is contracted to the Gunners until 2023.
He made a sub appearance in the Carabao Cup win at West Brom in midweek. However, has yet to appear in the Premier League this season.
He has been on the bench in the opening two games and in the pursuit of game time a move to Everton would tick all the boxes.
Maitland-Niles in Leicester swap talk
Earlier in the summer Leicester were tipped to be the destination for Maitland-Niles with Arsenal interested in James Maddison.
Arteta was reportedly prepared to offer Maitland-Niles as a makeweight in a deal to bring the talented schemer to the capital.
Maddison though has remained at the King Power Stadium, with Maitland-Niles now looking like he his heading for Merseyside.
Having come through Arsenal’s youth setup, Maitland-Niles has made 121 senior appearances, scoring thee goals. And England came calling in 2020, with the man from Goodmayes earning five Three Lions caps to date.
He has not been in Southgate’s thinking though since November 2020. And he was left out of the Three Lions’ latest World Cup qualifying party.