Mikel Arteta could be taking a massive risk by sanctioning a move for Ainsley Maitland-Niles in January. The Gunners midfielder is keen to find a new club in order to play more regularly, and is now pushing for a move when the winter transfer window opens next week.

Maitland-Niles was keen to leave in the summer, and Everton were said to have made an offer to Arsenal, but the deal was scuppered by Arteta, who wanted to keep the Englishman at the Emirates for at least one more season. The 24-year-old has made 11 appearances in all competitions this season, but has recently again fallen out of favour.

The England international remains behind Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Sambi Lokonga and Mohamed Elneny in the pecking order for a role in the Arsenal midfield, which could be the reason for his recent push to leave. According to Italian transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, AS Roma are in advanced talks with the north London club to sign him on loan in January with an option to make it permanent next summer.

"AS Roma are offering a six-month loan deal for Ainsley Maitland-Niles plus buy option around €10m, José Mourinho wants him. Player's open to accept," Romano wrote. "Negotiations still ongoing with Arsenal to reach the agreement on loan fee, buy option and final price."

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta is searching for answers at Arsenal Jon Super/POOL

Maitland-Niles' current deal with Arsenal expires in 2023, and this will be the ideal time to cash in rather than him leave for a bargain price in the summer. However, the English midfielder's departure could leave Arteta short-handed in midfield in light of the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Partey and Elneny will leave on Jan 3 to represent Ghana and Egypt in the 2022 AFCON respectively, which will leave Arteta with just Lokonga and Xhaka as his options in defensive midfield. Martin Odegaard can fulfil the number eight role if needed with Emile Smith Rowe available to play as a number 10.

The Spanish manager does have options available from the academy with 18-year-old Charlie Patino recently making his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup. The young Englishman, who is highly-rated within the club was also on the bench for Arsenal's 5-0 win over Norwich City in the Premier League on Boxing Day.

Charlie Patino
Charlie Patino of Arsenal Alex Burstow/Getty Images