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Ainsley Maitland-Niles: West Brom agree loan for Arsenal defender

Leicester was Ainsley Maitland-Niles' preferred destination for a loan move but Arsenal were reluctant to let him join a club they could be fighting for a European spot; Maitland-Niles' switch to Southampton fell through; West Brom complete loan signing of Turkey midfielder Okay Yokuslu

Arsenal vs Newcastle, PA
Image: Ainsley Maitland-Niles has made just five Premier League starts for Arsenal this season

Arsenal have agreed a loan deal with West Bromwich Albion for midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

West Brom, Leicester and Southampton all held talks with Arsenal in the hope a last-minute loan deal could be agreed before the transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday.

But West Brom secured a loan deal until the end of the season for the England international, who is scheduled to undergo a medical in the next few hours.

The 23-year-old is keen on a move to the Hawthorns, where he is more likely to get game time in his preferred position in midfield.

Maitland-Niles is hoping to secure regular first-team football to boost his chances of playing at the upcoming Euros - and met with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on Monday lunchtime to try and get a Deadline Day loan deal over the line.

Newcastle were also keen on signing Maitland-Niles, although the Magpies are also in talks over a loan deal for Gunners midfielder Joe Willock and Premier League rules state a club cannot loan two players from the same team.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta does not rule out further transfer activity at the club on Deadline Day

In the 20-minute meeting, Arteta, along with the technical director Edu, made it clear they were still willing to let Maitland-Niles leave but were reluctant to let him join Leicester, which had been the England international's favoured destination.

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Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to sign midfield cover following injuries to Dennis Praet and Wilfred Ndidi, and the club has held talks over a potential move for Maitland-Niles and Watford's Nathaniel Chalobah.

However, Arsenal were reluctant to allow Maitland-Niles to join Leicester as they don't want to strengthen a rival battling for the European places at the top of the Premier League.

England manager Gareth Southgate remains an admirer of the versatile midfielder but has made it clear he must be playing regularly if he is to be included in the squad for the tournament, which begins on June 11.

Maitland-Niles came close to joining Wolves in the summer transfer window but Arsenal turned down a £15m bid.

A product of Arsenal's academy, Maitland-Niles has made 121 appearances for the club since breaking into the first-team in 2014.

West Brom sign Yokuslu on loan

West Brom have also completed the signing of Turkey international midfielder Okay Yokuslu on loan from Spanish side Celta Vigo.

The 26-year-old joins the Baggies on a deal until the end of the 2020/21 campaign and becomes the club's fourth signing of the January transfer window.

Yokuslu has made 12 appearances for Celta Vigo in La Liga this season, as well as a further two in the Copa Del Rey.

He has also featured five times for Turkey in 2020/21, coming up against Russia twice, Germany, Serbia and Croatia.

Yokuslu, who has represented Altay, Kayserispor and Trabzonspor in his homeland, has won 29 caps for his nation, scoring one goal against Montenegro in March, 2018.

West Brom sporting and technical director Luke Dowling said: "It has been a priority since the start of the January window to build on the quality we already have in the building and, in Okay, we have a proven international midfielder who we believe can help us in our battle to remain in the Premier League.

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West Brom complete the loan signing of Okay Yokuslu and manager Sam Allardyce is hoping he can make a real difference in their fight against relegation

"As was the case with Mbaye Diagne and Robert Snodgrass, it is important the players joining us understand the situation in which we find ourselves, and are prepared to fight to help us achieve our goal. It is testament to Okay that he has also made the decision to commit himself to that challenge.

"Okay is a battling midfielder who wears his heart on his sleeve. We look forward to him joining up with his team-mates later this week as they prepare to face Tottenham on Sunday."

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