Southampton now 'most likely' to sign 191-game star at St Mary's

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl

Southampton are in the driving seat to sign Arsenal star Ainsley Maitland-Niles, according to transfer insider Dean Jones.

The versatile 24-year-old is out of favour at the Emirates Stadium and is expected to leave before the window closes.

What’s the latest news involving Maitland-Niles?

Maitland-Niles has made 132 appearances for his boyhood club, but he hasn’t played for them since last November and isn’t in Mikel Arteta’s plans.

As a result, the England international has held talks over a move to the south coast, with Saints pushing for a loan deal with an option to buy, although the ex-West Brom loanee will be available to sign for nothing next summer when his £52,000 per-week contract expires.

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GiveMeSport Transfer Verdict

And Arsenal would prefer to get him off their books this summer permanently to stop him from leaving for nothing when his deal runs in 2023.

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Southampton face stiff competition from some of their Premier League rivals, with the Daily Mail claiming that Bournemouth and West Ham are also in the race.

What did Jones say about Maitland-Niles?

Jones reckons Southampton are at the front queue to secure Maitland-Niles’ signature but revealed that up to five clubs are waiting in the wings.

He told GIVEMESPORT: “Southampton are the most likely to get him at the moment, but there are as many as five clubs in the background waiting to see what happens with that.

“If that move doesn’t happen for any reason, then there will be a real battle to sign him before deadline day, but Saints does seem a good fit for him, and I think he’s up for the move if it can all come together.”

What would Maitland-Niles bring to Southampton?

Above being an experienced 24-year-old, who’s made 191 appearances at club level and five on the international stage, Maitland-Niles would bring incredible versatility to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

Predominantly a right-back, the Arsenal man can also play on the left, at wing-back and in midfield.

According to Transfermarkt, Maitland-Niles has played in no fewer than seven different positions during his short career and would therefore add depth and competition to Saints’ squad.

But his best position is at right-back and with Tino Livramento currently out injured long-term, he will surely be targeting a regular starting place ahead of Three Lions colleague Kyle Walker-Peters.

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