Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ loan options appear to be narrowing, with a couple of the leading clubs seemingly now ruled out of the race.

Arsenal's Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) watches as Arsenal's English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles takes a throw in during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 16, 2020. (Photo by PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP)
Arsenal’s Spanish manager Mikel Arteta (R) watches as Arsenal’s English midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles takes a throw-in on December 16, 2020. (Photo by PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP)

As we know, Arsenal are working on a possible loan for Ainsley Maitland-Niles before the end of the January window. The England international wants to get out on the pitch as often as possible before the summer, to boost his chances for the Euros.

The Athletic report that Leicester City were among the clubs to express an interest in signing Maitland-Niles on loan, possibly even with an option to buy.

It was also a move that appealed to the player – particularly as they were offering the chance to play in midfield. Part of the reason Arsenal would prefer Maitland-Niles going to Southampton is that the Saints want him as a full-back.

Newcastle and West Brom are two other clubs linked to the 23-year-old by the same article.

However, the reliable John Percy seems to be ruling out a couple of those four clubs. He wrote on Saturday that a Maitland-Niles deal was ‘looking difficult’ for West Brom, before adding on Sunday that Leicester City aren’t currently actively pursuing their interest.

Meanwhile, Chris Waugh (Newcastle correspondent for The Athletic) reports that Newcastle believe a move for Joe Willock is a safer bet to plug their gap in midfield, again, due to Arsenal’s desire to loan Maitland-Niles out as a full-back.

Right now, that leaves Southampton as the most likely destination for Maitland-Niles before Monday’s transfer deadline. But with the player’s preference for Leicester City, you never know if that might change in the next 24 hours.