Roma close in on Arsenal star as they also eye Everton man

Arsenal quartet Ben White, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Gabriel Martinelli and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 2021

AS Roma director Tiago Pinto confirmed that the Giallorossi are closing in on Arsenal utility player Ainsley Maitland-Niles, per a report.

The 24-year-old has featured just eight times for the Gunners this season. Since Mikel Arteta’s appointment, he’s fallen out of favour at the Emirates. His last appearance came against Liverpool at the end of November in a 4-0 defeat. It would be a welcome move for all parties.

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Ahead of his side’s 3-1 defeat away at Milan in Serie A, Pinto told DAZN: “I can say we are talking to Arsenal for Niles, there is something happening and he is close.”

He was more cagey when answering questions about other midfield targets, including FC Porto’s Sergio Oliveira.

He said:  “There are many other names, but this is not the right moment to talk about them.”

Roma boss José Mourinho has also been non-committal in answering questions about the Arsenal man. 

“I don’t feel comfortable talking about him,” Mourinho said. “Nobody has officially told me that he is our player.

Mourinho knows all about Maitland-Niles 

“He grew up at Arsenal when I was at Chelsea and Tottenham, so I know him well.

“Everyone knows our transfer market profile, we cannot afford to spend the sums Atalanta and Fiorentina are shelling out in January, so we must seek one or two players on loan to improve the balance of the squad.

“For example, Rick Karsdorp always played and we didn’t have any alternatives when he was suspended against Inter, so we completely lost our way. If a player arrives for that role, we can breathe a little easier.

“The window runs to the end of the month, so if someone else arrives too, that’s even better.”

Everton midfielder targeted by Mourinho

With the news of Ainsley Maitland-Niles nearing his loan move to Roma, José Mourinho has turned his attention to Everton’s Ivorian midfielder, Jean-Philippe Gbamin according to Corriere Dello Sport.

Having arrived two-and-a-half seasons ago, the former Mainz man has only mustered seven appearances for the Toffees.

As Rafa Benitez targets Sean Longstaff from his former club, Newcastle United, Gbamin is seen as surplus to requirements. Mourinho is desperate to bulk up his engine room options in January and has been linked with several targets.

Roma host Juventus on Sunday evening in Serie A in a crucial match for their top-four hopes.

READ MORE: Roma boss Jose Mourinho fumes after defeat as key players sidelined