Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ loan move to AS Roma is complete.
The Arsenal midfielder was spotted in Rome on Friday ahead of sealing a loan move to the Serie A side for the remainder of the season and an official announcement came on Saturday afternoon.
With the chance of regular game time and to work with former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta admitted he could not block Maitland-Niles‘ request for a temporary departure.
“Ainsley came to me and explained the reasons why he thought the best thing for him and his career was to move away,” the Spaniard revealed in his pre-Nottingham Forest press conference.
“He felt the opportunity to go to Rome and work with Jose was a good one. Being fair with the amount of minutes that he’s played he was entitled to that opportunity. We wish him the best.
“We’re very short at the moment [in midfield], but this shouldn’t be the only reason for keeping a player.
“Ainsley was very straight with me and I understood the situation.
Arteta confirming plans to sign a central midfielder – amid links to the likes of Danilo, Georginio Wijnaldum, Bruno Guimaraes and Renato Sanches – is one of Arsenal’s next three moves in what remains of the January transfer window.
Another departure is expected as Folarin Balogunhas been strongly linked with a loan move to Championship outfit Middlesborough – to finally link up with Chris Wilder who wanted him at Sheffield United last season – and Arteta has revealed a decision will be made shortly.
“With Flo we will see in the next week or so what is the final decision on that,” he added. “And for the rest there is nothing that is new and we’re going to have to live with that for the rest of the season.”
Interestingly, Arteta has opened up on his transfer plans for the remainder of the window and said he is open to deals – but only if it helps to bolster his first-team squad.
“I think with the amount of things and the way we want to evolve the squad we have to maximise every window in every way,” Arteta said when asked if Vlahovic was the kind of player he would be looking to sign.
“We are already, Edu and his team are working very hard because we know exactly what we need to do. Whether we can accomplish that in January or the summer is a different question related to other stuff. But we are there.
With that said, Arsenal could yet complete more deals before deadline day.
Meanwhile, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah, Pablo Mari and Sead Kolasinac have all been tipped to leave the Emirates Stadium before the end of the month.