Newcastle United are reportedly keen on a move for Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles - but face competition from Premier League rivals Southampton and Bournemouth.
The 25-year-old spent the second half of last season with Serie A giants Roma and helped Jose Mourinho’s side win the Europa Conference League and secure qualification for this season’s Europa League.
Speaking ahead of that move, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta revealed Maitland-Niles’ frustration over his failure to secure a regular place in his side had led to his move to Italy.
He said: “Ainsley came to me and explained the reasons why he thought that the best thing for him in his career right now is to move away.
“He believes that the opportunity to move to Rome and working under Jose (Mourinho) is a really good one.
“We already had this conversation in the summer and we decided to keep him at the club and assess the situation in December, but with the amount of minutes that he has played, he’s entitled to that opportunity.
“When a player feels that way and has a strong argument like he has, it’s very difficult to turn it away, so we decided to let him go and we wish him all the best.”
Those frustrations are likely to have returned with Maitland-Niles yet to feature for the Gunners since returning to North London at the end of his temporary move to Roma.
He is believed to be one of a number of players Arteta could allow to leave the Emirates Stadium ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline and that has sparked interest from Southampton and Bournemouth - although the latter could be impacted by the departure of manager Scott Parker on Tuesday morning.
talkSPORT have now reported Newcastle could make a move for Maitland-Niles, who would offer them a chance to cover two key positions within their squad.
The five-times capped England player has featured in midfield and at right-back during his time at Arsenal and that could give Eddie Howe a further option in both areas following recent injuries to Emil Krafth, Jonjo Shelvey and Bruno Guimaraes.