AS Roma have signed Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan for the rest of the season.
The England international moves to the Stadio Olimpico in search of more game time after a frustrating 18 months at Arsenal where he’s failed to nail down a regular starting place under Mikel Arteta.
Having spent the second half of last season with West Bromwich Albion, the 24-year-old returned to London Colney in the summer and promptly declared his willingness to try his luck elsewhere.
A move to Everton looked to be on the cards towards the end of the transfer window but the Gunners blocked the Toffees approach leaving Maitland-Niles fuming on social media. He was reintegrated into the first team after ‘clear the air’ talks and featured regularly in the Premier League in the first quarter of the season, even in his preferred central midfield position.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) January 8, 2022
In early November, Mikel Arteta went as far as to say, “I see a different player in terms of his urgency, his commitment and the clarity in his play and purpose.”
Despite the warm words, Ainsley hasn’t played in the last eight league games and it’s therefore not surprising to see him move. At the same time, with Thomas Partey and Mo Elneny both at the African Cup of Nations, it does leave us a little exposed in the centre of midfield for the next few weeks.
It’s believed that Ainsley could make a permanent move to Roma next summer if he settles well in Serie A but there’s no suggestion that this deal includes an obligation to buy.
Best of luck to Ainsley in Roma…local starlings beware. And the Roma fans have very kindly produced a welcome song for him that is sure to go down a storm … er …
Maitland-Niles to Roma 🔜 🇮🇹pic.twitter.com/spcNtfw1vp
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) January 6, 2022