Maitland-Niles, 23, has endured a difficult campaign to date in north London.
The full-back/midfielder was of course widely tipped to depart Arsenal last summer, when the capital giants required a funds boost to utilise in their pursuit of reinforcements in the middle of the park.
In turn, Wolves expressed a serious interest in the signature of the Gunners youth product, with reports, at one point, having gone as far as to suggest that a £20 million deal between the clubs had been agreed.
This, though, was before a Man of the Match display on Maitland-Niles’ part during Arsenal’s Community Shield victory over Liverpool late in August.
23rd birthday ✅
Man of the Match performance ✅
England call-up ✅
What a day Ainsley Maitland-Niles has had 🥳pic.twitter.com/wI5cgceeSc
— Goal (@goal) August 29, 2020
Mikel Arteta and co., in turn, eventually came to the decision that a departure would not be sanctioned for the 23-year-old, with AMN having been expected to kick on to establish himself as a first-team regular this season.
This, however, has of course since not come to fruition.
Amid Arteta’s efforts to revert to a back-4, Maitland-Niles has found himself as something of the odd man out at the Emirates, behind more established performers in both the defensive and midfield areas.
All told, to this point in the campaign, the English international has managed starts in just 5 of Arsenal’s 20 Premier League outings.
St. Mary’s bound?
As such, with the European Championships of course fast approaching, it has come as little surprise to see fresh speculation surrounding Maitland-Niles’ future surface of late.
A host of clubs have been credited with an interest in the out-of-favour Gunner’s signature over the course of the month, but it is the last 24 hours which have seen reports begin to mount that a transfer could indeed be on the cards.
First, word came to the fore that West Bromwich Albion had positioned themselves at the front of the queue for ‘Mainsley’, with Sam Allardyce keen to have the versatile stopper at his disposal amid the Baggies’ attempts to stave off relegation.
This, however, was swiftly followed by confirmation this afternoon that another Premier League club have now entered the race.
The outfit in question? Southampton.
As confirmed by the reliable David Ornstein of The Athletic, the Saints, whom Arsenal downed just days ago, have made contact with the transfer chiefs at the Emirates over a potential loan deal for the remainder of the campaign.
And the north Londoners, in turn, are believed to be open to such an option for Maitland-Niles.
Another factor worth taking note of when it comes to Southampton’s interest in AMN is Arsenal’s pursuit of Ryan Bertrand.
The Gunners have of course been named as keen suitors of the stopper of late, as Mikel Arteta eyes up left-back cover for Kieran Tierney.
And, with just 6 months remaining on his contract at St. Mary’s, it has been suggested that Bertrand could head in the opposite direction, if any deal for Maitland-Niles is forthcoming over the days ahead.
🚨 Southampton enter race to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan. Contacted Arsenal in last 24hr & #AFC want that over West Brom or a rival. Could raise fresh questions about Ryan Bertrand future but #SAINTSFC want to keep him + add AMN @TheAthleticUK #WBA https://t.co/Nr9lLZcFyD
— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) January 29, 2021
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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