‘I know him well’: Jose Mourinho breaks his silence on Ainsley Maitland-Niles deal as Roma near completing loan move until the end of the season for the versatile Arsenal man
- Ainsley Maitland-Niles will be cleared to leave Arsenal for Roma this month
- The Serie A side struck a deal in principle with Arsenal on Tuesday for a loan deal
- The 24-year-old expressed his lack of playing time at the Emirates last summer
- Jose Mourinho said he had not been told the midfielder was an official player yet
Roma boss Jose Mourinho has said he knows Ainsley Maitland-Niles ‘well’ after the Serie A side agreed a loan deal in principle for the Arsenal midfielder.
Sportsmail reported earlier this week that the Italian club had submitted a loan offer for the 24-year-old and a deal was struck with Arsenal on Tuesday night for the academy graduate to join until the end of the season.
As the England international seemingly edges closer to a temporary Emirates exit, Mourinho revealed he knows the the player well from his time in charge of Chelsea and Tottenham.
Roma boss Jose Mourinho (left) has said he knows Ainsley Maitland-Niles (right) ‘well’
But the Giallorossi boss was hesitant to discuss the move as he had not been told Maitland-Niles was officially a Roma player.
‘I don’t feel comfortable talking about him, because nobody has officially told me that he is our player,’ said Mourinho, via Football Italia.
‘He grew up at Arsenal when I was at Chelsea and Tottenham, so I know him well.’
Roma’s current financial situation reportedly meant that they were only able to offer an initial loan fee but the Serie A side could resume talks over a permanent move towards the end of Maitland-Niles’s spell in the Italian capital.
The Serie A side have struck a deal in principle for loan move for the midfielder with Arsenal
Mourinho explained his side’s transfer position as he hinted ‘one or two’ loan transfers could arrive at the Stadio Olimpico.
‘Everyone knows our transfer market profile, we cannot afford to spend the sums Atalanta and Fiorentina are shelling out in January, so we must seek one or two players on loan to improve the balance of the squad,’ he said.
‘For example, Rick Karsdorp always played and we didn’t have any alternatives when he was suspended against Inter, so we completely lost our way. If a player arrives for that role, we can breathe a little easier.
‘The window runs to the end of the month, so if someone else arrives too, that’s even better.’
The England international had talks with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta (pictured) after expressing his frustration at his lack of game time
In August, Maitland-Niles expressed his frustration at his lack of playing time, lashing out on social media by posting: ‘All I wanna do is go where I’m wanted and where I’m gonna play.’
Following heart-to-heart talks with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, the utility player was told he would have the chance to play more often as the club rebuffed approaches from Everton.
But he has since made 11 appearances this season, with just two coming in Premier League starts.
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