Report: PL club pushing to sign 'Rolls Royce of a player' from Arsenal, his exit is now imminent
The Daily Mail report that the Saints have jumped ahead of West Ham and south coast rivals Bournemouth in the race.
They want to engineer an initial loan deal with an option to buy, with the Gunners pushing to get a fee in for the 24-year-old.
Maitland-Niles has one year left on his contract, but the Gunners have the choice to trigger an additional year, so perhaps something could be done which would get them a fee further down the line.
Southampton leading the race for Maitland-Niles
The report says Maitland-Niles is now expected to leave the club in the coming days, with the England man having fallen that far out of favour at Arsenal.
He needs to go and play regular games somewhere, because his career has fallen off since he was in the England picture under Gareth Southgate.
With the World Cup on the horizon, he is not in Southgate’s plans at all, and his focus has to be establishing himself at a Premier League club.
Maitland-Niles has played in a variety of positions and that has arguably hampered his development, but he earned huge praise from Martin Keown at his best.
Keown said in 2020: “You rarely get a player with his pace in that role. I would have loved that as a player. He’s a Rolls-Royce of a player at times.
“There’s quality there, he’s growing and getting better every time I see him. I think he’s ready for that central position.”
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