AS Roma manager Jose Mourinho is plotting a January move for versatile Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles, according to reports.
The former Chelsea, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur manager is reportedly considering a loan move for the former England international.
While Maitland-Niles has managed to repair what was a very strained relationship with manager Mikel Arteta last year, appearances have been very hard to come by.
He has only started two Premier League matches all season, with his last appearance coming in the 4-0 away defeat to Liverpool in November.
But his days on the Arsenal bench could be coming to an end, as Mourinho is purported to be very keen on a move for Maitland-Niles in the January transfer window.
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ESPN understand Roma sporting director Tiago Pinto has contacted the Gunners, with the intention of discussing the prospect of signing the 24-year-old.
It is believed, the Serie A giants are interested in the prospect signing Maitland-Niles on loan with the option to sign him permanently.
Initial discussions including a possible four-year contract are also understood to have taken place, but a fee is yet to be agreed according to reports.
It is the second time Maitland-Niles has been heavily linked with an Emirates exit in the January transfer window.
He came very close to departing the club last season, when Everton became interested in signing him.
He even took to social media to try and force through a transfer, only for it to collapse in the later stages of the window.
“All I want to do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m going to play,” Maitland-Niles posted last year.
Maitland-Niles was instead sent on loan to West Bromwich Albion at the end of the January transfer window last season.
Unfortunately, his presence did not improve matters for the Baggies, as they were relegated at the end of last season.
However, Maitland-Niles returned to the Gunners and managed to reform his relationship with Arteta.
While he has still found himself behind the likes of Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Albert Sambi-Lokonga, and Martin Odegaard in the pecking order, Arteta has been very complimentary towards Maitland-Niles’ attitude and performances this season.
“I see a different player in terms of his urgency, his commitment and the clarity in his play and purpose,” Arteta said after Maitland-Niles’ performance in the Gunners’ 1-0 home victory against Watford.
“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.”
ESPN have also claimed Everton have retained an interest in Maitland-Niles, and could even be willing to rival Roma for his signature.
Meanwhile, Roma are still struggling to generate and maintain any momentum in Serie A.
Mourinho’s side are currently languishing in sixth position, and currently trail the Champions League spots by six points.
While they did secure a very impressive 4-1 away victory against fourth place Atalanta, they followed it up with a frustrating 1-1 home draw against Sampdoria.