AS Roma have signed English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal. The Italian side were linked with the versatile midfielder for a long time and now finally landed their target on a six-month loan. This loan does not extend with an option to buy at the end of the season so both clubs can negotiate transfer fees later in the summer. It is reported that Roma have paid just a £500,000 loan fee plus his wages in full to sign the midfielder.
Maitland-Niles has been struggling for regular game time at Emirates Stadium, has made just 8 appearances this season, and only 2 as a starter, with no goal or assist to his name. Last season he was sent to West Bromwich Albion on a six-month loan. Maitland-Niles started his youth career at Arsenal academy and has made overall 72 appearances and scored just 1 goal. The 24-year-old midfielder, who is highly effective in the right wing-back role and as a box-to-box midfielder will join Jose Mourinho’s side, who have been struggling this season. Italian giants sit in 7th position in Serie A table with just 32 points in hand, 14 points behind leaders Inter Milan and 6 points behind 4th placed Atalanta, who have played a game less.
Roma are playing with a 3-4-1-2 formation this season, which offers a right-midfielder role to Maitland-Niles. But Dutch wing-back Rick Karsdorp has been regular in that position, so Mourinho may be planning a rotational or back-up role for Maitland-Niles. It will not be enough for the player who needs to play more in this stage of his career. A loan move to Premier League clubs or a permanent exit to Championship or bottom-lying league clubs would have been fruitful for the English midfielder.