CompetitionsPremier League

Southampton step up chase for Arsenal full-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Southampton have joined the race to bring in Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan, the PA news agency understands.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has admitted Saints hope to bring in another loan signing before the transfer deadline.

While Hasenhuttl would not be drawn on targets, the Austrian boss admitted he is still in the market for another new addition.

He said: “It’s still possible, yes, we still have a few days to go.

“And we hope that we can get another signing here, maybe on loan, this is an opportunity we have, yes.”

West Brom had been thought to be leading the race for Maitland-Niles’ loan capture, but Southampton could yet steal a march on the Baggies.

Maitland-Niles’ versatility fits both boss Hasenhuttl’s blueprint, and Southampton’s current need due to their injury glut.

The 23-year-old England star can slot in at full-back or across midfield, and Saints are now hopeful of completing a loan deal until the end of the season.

Southampton will host Aston Villa on Saturday with Ryan Bertrand back after suspension.

Nathan Redmond, Oriol Romeu and Moussa Djenepo are also in contention having shaken off injuries, though Kyle Walker-Peters remains sidelined.

“Having Ryan Bertrand back is important for our game; important for our shape,” said Hasenhuttl.

“Kyle still needs a little bit of time, I don’t know how long, but he will not be available for this weekend, so we have to find a solution for the right side.”

Southampton have struggled for Premier League goals in recent weeks, but Hasenhuttl remains unfazed.

“I’m never scared; as long as we have chances to score, everything is okay for me,” he said.

“Sometimes you score more, sometimes not. If we wouldn’t have any chances then I would be worried. As long as you get the chances, everything is okay.”

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