Report: Player has uncertain future at Arsenal after being dropped in last seven games

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium by Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Ainsley Maitland-Niles looked certain to leave Arsenal over the summer as he struggled for playing time last season and joined West Bromwich Albion on loan, but he was given a reprieve by Mikel Arteta which suggested a U-turn was on the cards this campaign.

Unfortunately, that’s short-lived as Maitland-Niles is back to being on the periphery. As the winter transfer window approaches, Maitland-Niles’ future is being speculated about and Il Tempo (h/t Sport Witness) say AS Roma could offer him an escape route.

The Serie A giants are sixth in the table with 32 points from 19 games but might need to bolster their squad in January to boost their hopes of finishing in a Champions League spot. Their need for Maitland-Niles might be because Jose Mourinho is lacking in the midfield department.

Roma have Lorenzo Pellegrini, Jordan Veretout and Bryan Cristante, so they aren’t blessed with like-for-like cover in case of injury. Pellegrini is currently sidelined too, so the more defensive-minded Amadou Diawara and Ebrima Darboe are waiting in the wings.

Il Tempo say Roma are willing to bring in a loan player next month, something Arsenal would sanction, but they don’t want to include a buying option in the deal.

Maitland-Niles looked set to stay at Arsenal after clear-the-air talks with Arteta, especially when he featured in eight of their first 12 Premier League games this season, but he’s been dropped for their previous seven matches so the writing appears to be on the wall.

The 24-year-old has made 11 appearances across the board in 2021/22, amassing a paltry 472 minutes of football. Seven of Maitland-Niles’ appearances have come from the bench and he was substitute in one of the four games he started.

Arteta prefers Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny and Sambi Lokonga, so there’s no place for Maitland-Niles. The fact he’s been an unused substitute or left out of the matchday squad in their last seven league outings speaks volumes.