Jose Mourinho decision set to cost Arsenal millions in transfer windfall

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has struggled to live up to expectations at AS Roma and could return to Arsenal with his tail between his legs come the end of the season.

The Gunners academy graduate joined up with Jose Mourinho’s side on loan at the beginning of the January transfer window but has failed to make an impression so far.

Maitland-Niles’ showings have been so disappointing that Mourinho has already begun the search for a replacement right-back and is rumoured to have identified Barcelona’s Sergino Dest.

The England international has made six appearances for the Serie A titans ever since he fled the Emirates in acrimonious circumstances following his public outburst at the back-end of the summer transfer window.

HAVE YOUR SAY! Why has it not worked for Maitland-Niles so far at Roma? Comment below

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has struggled so far at Roma
Ainsley Maitland-Niles has struggled so far at Roma

After Arsenal had reportedly rejected a loan proposal from fellow Premier League side Everton, Maitland-Niles took to Instagram to issue fans with an update that read: “All I want to do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m going to play.”

He eventually got his wish with the move to Rome, but things have not played out as he would have hoped and Italian outlet Calciomercato report that the club will not look to make his stay permanent at the end of the current campaign.

The reported figure inserted into Maitland-Niles option to buy clause is thought to be in the region of £8-£12million, though Arsenal are now likely to receive nothing unless he turns things around.

Arteta has always publicly praised the versatile player, but the Spaniard has failed to translate those compliments into the currency Maitland-Niles values most – game time.

After handing him a rare Premier League start at home to Watford, Arteta was keen to wax lyrical over the the 24-year-old.

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

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was used sparingly while at Arsenal this season
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was used sparingly while at Arsenal this season

“Since we made the decision, 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. Today we made use of him to do what he had to do in the game, which was really important.”

Bizarrely, the home clash with the Hornets would go on to be final start for the Gunners before the loan switch.

He was available for selection for another nine games for Arsenal before his temporary exit, yet the best he could get was a 37 minute cameo off the bench during the 4-0 drubbing away at Liverpool.

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