Roma's first signing of the New Year is now official. Moments ago, the club officially unveiled Ainsley Maitland-Niles as their first signing of the winter transfer market. While the deal was on the verge of collapse numerous times over the past couple of weeks, Roma and Arsenal were able to agree to terms on a short-term, six-month loan for the versatile 24-year-old.
Maitland-Niles, who will wear the number fifteen shirt for Roma, was just announced as the newest member of the Giallorossi:
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) January 8, 2022
Welcome to the Giallorossi!
This month we are once again supporting @ICMEC_official and its affiliates, to help search for missing children around the world.
Information & awareness can reunite families. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/FJCfWFlQls
Maitland-Niles, a versatile player capable of playing either full-back position and a variety of midfield roles, arrives in the Italian capital on a six-month dry loan with no option to make the move permanent, though speculation holds the two clubs will reconvene later in the year to discuss a permanent transfer.
On his new club, Maitland-Niles expressed his desire to get down to work:
“I am just delighted to be here and can’t wait to crack on...I want to help the team and show what I can do as a player. Thank you to the fans for the support they’ve already shown me - I hope we can go on to do something great by the end of the season.”
Roma GM Tiago Pinto was quick to praise Maitland-Niles’ versatility:
“With Maitland-Niles we are bringing to Roma a young player who fits well with the profile we were looking for to improve the squad and cover a number of different positions,” said the club’s General Manager, Tiago Pinto.
When we spoke to Ainsley we were really struck by his enthusiasm about the prospect of joining our group and having the chance to work with Jose Mourinho.”
Maitland-Niles, who hails from Goodmayes in Northeast London, came up through the Arsenal academy, making his professional debut against Galatasaray in the Champions League way back in 2014. Despite breaking the ranks at such a young age, Maitland-Niles struggled to carve out a consistent role with Arsenal, spending time on loan with Ipswich Town and West Brom, while also logging minutes with the Gunners youth teams.
Despite spending the past two seasons on the periphery at the Emirates, Maitland-Niles still amassed more than 130 appearances in all competition for the Gunners, flexing his positional versatility while playing at both full-back/wing-back spots and serving a variety of midfield roles; a pattern that is likely to continue at the Stadio Olimpico.
While a dry loan is seldom anyone’s preference, with the club beset by injuries, suspensions, and illness, Maitland-Niles should have ample time to prove his worth, potentially paving the way for the two clubs to revisit a permanent transfer this summer.
Ordinarily, we wouldn't expect to see a new signing suit up 24 hours after officially signing with the club, but with Roma down Rick Karsdorp and Gianluca Mancini for tomorrow's fixture against Juventus, and with Amadou Diawara and Ebrima Darboe on AFCON duty, Maitland-Niles could be thrown straight into the deep end.
Either way, landing a player as young and as versatile as Maitland-Niles is exactly what Roma needs at the moment. Welcome aboard, Ainsley. Now, get to work!