Arsenal full-back Maitland-Niles came close to joining Wolves in the summer; 23-year-old struggled to nail down a regular berth under Mikel Arteta this season, starting only five Premier League games; England international prefers West Brom transfer to Southampton
Friday 29 January 2021 15:23, UK
West Brom are leading the race to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal, with Southampton also keen on the England international.
Southampton and Arsenal got preliminary talks underway over a six-month loan deal which would see the 23-year old spend the rest of the season at St Mary's.
However, Maitland-Niles prefers a move to West Brom as he believes he is more likely to get valuable game time ahead of the Euros in the summer.
The Arsenal full-back is desperate to remain in Gareth Southgate's thinking, and while the England boss remains a big admirer he made it clear he must be playing regularly to stand any chance of involvement with the Three Lions.
Baggies boss Sam Allardyce is working hard to convince the club's owners to agree a six-month loan deal ahead of Monday's 11pm transfer deadline.
While he is happy to fill either full-back roles, Maitland-Niles prefers to play in midfield - which is where Allardyce is most likely to play him.
The Arsenal academy graduate has struggled to nail down a regular berth in Mikel Arteta's first team, starting only five league games so far this campaign.
That alerted a number of Premier League clubs to the fact that he is keen to leave on a short-term loan this month.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said on Thursday he was aware of his player's concerns over his lack of game time ahead of the summer's Euros.
"It is a concern when there is international football involved as well and the chance to reach that opportunity," Arteta said.
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"I understand that Ainsley wants more minutes and what he needs to do is fight, train and challenge his teammates and show us that he can be one of our starters."
Maitland-Niles came close to joining Wolves in the summer, with Arsenal turning down a £15m bid.
The 23-year-old has become an established member of Southgate's squad since making his debut for his country last September against Denmark.
However, he has started only five Premier League games this campaign.
The winter transfer window is open until Monday, February 1 at 11pm.
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