Arsenal transfer news: Midfielder on Mikel Arteta’s agenda after Maitland-Niles loan exit to Roma

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Arsenal transfer news: Midfielder on Mikel Arteta’s agenda after Maitland-Niles loan exit to Roma
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  • Arsenal
    Arsenal
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  • Mikel Arteta
    Mikel Arteta
    Spanish association football player and manager
  • Ainsley Maitland-Niles
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  • Granit Xhaka
    Granit Xhaka
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Mikel Arteta has confirmed Arsenal are looking to bolster their midfield during the January transfer window after allowing Ainsley Maitland-Niles to leave.

Maitland-Niles has agreed terms with Roma over a loan until the end of the season and the deal leaves Arsenal short on midfield options, particularly this month.

Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey are at the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving Albert Sambi Lokonga and Granit Xhaka as the two remaining senior midfielders.

Maitland-Niles was another option but, after he agreed to join Roma, Arteta is keen to reinforce his ranks in midfield.

“We are very, very short at the moment,” said Arteta. “But to be fair on a player, this cannot be the only argument to try to keep a player - and a player that has been developed and raised through our academy.

“[Maitland-Niles is] a player that has been patient in many moments and tried to fulfil his dream. He was very straight with me and I understood the situation and we think it’s good option.

“Obviously we are going to move and we are going to look for options, because we are very short there.”

Maitland-Niles almost left Arsenal in the summer, when Everton attempted to sign him on loan, but Arsenal held firm.

The England international, however, has struggled for minutes since then and Arteta has agreed to let him go after more talks last month.

“Ainsley came to me and explained the reason why the best thing for him in his career right now was to move away,” Arteta said.

“He believed that the opportunity of Rome and working under Jose [Mourinho] was a really good one. We already had this conversation in the summer. We decided to keep him at the club and assess the situation in December.

“And, being fair with the amount of minutes that he’s played, he was entitled to that opportunity and when a player feels that way, and has got a strong argument like he has, it is very difficult to turn that down.

“So we decided to let him go and we wish him the best.”

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