Southampton 'interested' in £52k-a-week Premier League star at St Mary's

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl points the way

Southampton are ‘interested’ in luring Arsenal ace Ainsley Maitland-Niles to St Mary’s but are facing stiff competition, according to Daily Express journalist Ryan Taylor.

Saints have spent more than £50million on bolstering boss Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad since the transfer window reopened for business, but the Austrian could add further reinforcements ahead of the 11pm deadline on September 1.

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What’s the latest news involving Maitland-Niles?

Maitland-Niles has returned to Arsenal after spending the second half of last season on loan with Italian giants Roma, but it appears that another move away from the Emirates Stadium could be on the cards.

That is because, according to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are keen to offload the 24-year-old and Southampton are in pole position to wrap up a deal.

The report suggests that south-coast rivals Bournemouth are also keen on five-cap England international Maitland-Niles, but Saints are leading the way as they are pushing to agree a loan which has the option of being made permanent.

West Ham United have also been offered the chance to make a move for Maitland-Niles and are keeping tabs on his situation.

Arsenal are desperate to find a buyer for their academy product as he has entered the final 12 months of his £52,000-per-week contract in north London.

What has Ryan Taylor said about Maitland-Niles?

Taylor understands that Southampton are one of four Premier League clubs coveting Maitland-Niles.

The journalist is certain that West Ham are in the running for the Arsenal man’s signature, but Saints are still in the hunt as well.

When asked about the Hammers’ midfield targets and whether they are facing competition, Taylor told GIVEMESPORT: “Maitland-Niles is definitely one. He obviously has one year left on his Arsenal contract.

“But there are other Premier League clubs interested – Fulham, Bournemouth and Southampton as well.”

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Would Maitland-Niles be a good signing for Southampton?

With Arsenal desperate to find a buyer and Maitland-Niles looking for a fresh start away from the Emirates Stadium, this could be the perfect opportunity for Southampton to strike a cut-price deal or negotiate a loan with a moderate buy clause.

He would not need to be given time to adjust to the rigours of the Premier League as he has made 87 appearances in the competition, which will be an attraction for Hasenhuttl.

Maitland-Niles has also shown his versatility over the course of his career, having featured across the backline and midfield, and that could come in handy if Southampton suffer an injury crisis.

Having clinched three FA Cups and two Community Shields during his time on Arsenal’s books, along with last season’s Europa Conference League while at Roma, the former West Bromwich Albion loanee would bring a winning mentality to St Mary’s.

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