Southampton and Bournemouth battle to sign Maitland-Niles
Southampton and Bournemouth have begun talks with representatives of Arsenal to sign midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles on a permanent basis, with the 24-year-old likely to move before the end of the transfer window. It is understood that Arsenal are holding out for around £12 million, and both the Cherries and Saints have bid £8 million, some way short of the Gunners' valuation.
Having spent last season on loan in Italy with AS Roma, Maitland-Niles could not earn a permanent transfer to the Serie A outfit and ultimately returned to Arsenal to fight for a place.
The North London side have given no indication of a future for the versatile midfielder, who can operate anywhere in midfielder or defence. That flexibility is what has caught the eye of rival Premier League clubs, and it is understood Southampton may be slightly ahead of Bournemouth in the race to sign the player.
Maitland-Niles has five caps for England, and came through the ranks at the Gunners, making his first appearance back in 2014 under Arsene Wenger.