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Southampton closing in on Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Southampton are reportedly in talks with Arsenal over the signing of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, and the young Englishman could be a superb addition to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

What’s the word?

According to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano:

Southampton are pushing to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

“Talks now in progress with Arsenal on loan with buy option, as current AFC deal also included an option to extend until 2024. Saints, insisting to beat competition from two more clubs.”

This isn’t the first time Southampton have been linked with the versatile Arsenal fan, which suggests that Hasenhuttl is clearly a big fan and it seems as if he will finally bring him to St Mary’s this summer.

Hasenhuttl needs him

Maitland-Niles has shown during his time at Arsenal, as well as in loan spells at West Brom and Roma, that he is more than capable of featuring in both central midfield, and at right-back.

Considering the lack of options available to Southampton at right-back right now, with Valentino Livramento a long-term absentee through injury, it is clear that Hasenhuttl needs depth in this position.

Left-back Romain Perraud is also injured, and the Austrian manager may well be tempted to put Kyle Walker-Peters back there as he did last season, should a new right-back arrive at the club, as currently, Moussa Djenepo is featuring in an unorthodox wing-back role.

Should Southampton sign Maitland-Niles?





Maitland-Niles, who earns £35k-per-week at Arsenal, has struggled for regular game time in recent seasons, earning just eight league appearances at Roma last season, while he is yet to feature for the Gunners in the new campaign.

However, he is still only 24 and has earned an England cap in the past, so with more football under his belt, he could easily rediscover the early career form that made him so highly thought of.

Mikel Arteta was full of praise for Maitland-Niles last season after he impressed in a rare start against Watford, saying:

“First of all, I see a different player in terms of his urgency, his commitment, the clarity in his play, his purpose.

“Since we made the decision (to keep him), it was clear what I was seeing that I wanted him to stay, because he was going to be useful.

“He has a huge talent because he’s versatile enough to adapt to almost any position on the pitch.”

Versatility is always a huge bonus for any manager and Hasenhuttl will know that, should James Ward-Prowse, Romeo Lavia or Oriol Romeu suffer an injury, he can also rely on Maitland-Niles as a solid midfield option.

Therefore, all the signs suggest that the Arsenal man could be a quality addition at St Mary’s, and Hasenhuttl will be hoping to get the deal done before this weekend’s game against Manchester United.