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Arsenal transfer news: Leicester hope to win loan race for Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles
(Image credit: PA)

Leicester are leading the race to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal, according to reports.

Maitland-Niles is likely to depart the Emirates Stadium before the January transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday.

A host of Premier League clubs have been linked with a move for the versatile England international.

Southampton (opens in new tab), Newcastle (opens in new tab) and West Brom (opens in new tab) have all been tracking the 23-year-old in recent weeks.

But according to the Daily Mirror (opens in new tab), Leicester (opens in new tab) are set to win the race for Maitland-Niles’ signature.

The Foxes are keen on a loan deal with an option to buy the midfielder in the summer.

Maitland-Niles is keen to play regular football before this summer’s European Championship, and he does not think he will get enough minutes at Arsenal.

He has been used primarily as a full-back or wing-back under Mikel Arteta, despite seeing himself as a midfield player.

Southampton are keen on Maitland-Niles but see him as a full-back, which has put him off a move to St Mary’s.

Leicester are now at the front of the queue and will hope to tie up a deal before the deadline.

Maitland-Niles has two-and-a-half years left on his contract at the Emirates Stadium, and could be sold in the summer unless he signs an extension.

Arsenal rejected a bid of £20m from Wolves (opens in new tab) before the start of the season, while Atletico Madrid (opens in new tab) have also been keeping tabs on the situation.

Leicester’s loan-plus-option-to-buy offer could appeal to the Gunners if the clause meets their valuation of Maitland-Niles.

Arteta confirmed on Saturday that Arsenal could be active in the market on deadline day, with outgoings more likely than incomings.

“Well, there are some conversations at the moment going on," he said. "I spoke with all of the players about their own situation because they are all aware of the minutes that they are playing and they want to improve their situation. 

"I am willing to help them. Some of them the club is willing to help them and we will try to find a solution at the end. But I don’t know whether it’s going to be the case or not."

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