Jose Mourinho has refused to discuss Roma’s pending deal to sign Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan, though admitted that he knows the midfielder well.

90min reported last week that the Serie A side have been working hard to finalise a loan for Maitland-Niles.

With a deal close to being agreed, Mourinho was asked about the Englishman in a press conference on Wednesday.

“I don’t feel comfortable talking about him, because nobody has officially told me that he is our player,” Mourinho said, via Football Italia.

“He grew up at Arsenal when I was at Chelsea and Tottenham, so I know him well. Everyone knows our transfer market profile, we cannot afford to spend the sums Atalanta and Fiorentina are shelling out in January, so we must seek one or two players on loan to improve the balance of the squad.

“For example, Rick Karsdorp always played and we didn’t have any alternatives when he was suspended against Inter, so we completely lost our way. If a player arrives for that role, we can breathe a little easier.

“The window runs to the end of the month, so if someone else arrives too, that’s even better.”

Maitland-Niles has come close to leaving Arsenal on several occasions in search of first team football in his preferred position in central midfield. He joined West Brom on loan for the second half of last season, but was denied permanent moves to Everton and Wolves in the summer.

However, he’s scarcely featured for Mikel Arteta’s side this season and the Gunners are now prepared to let him leave on loan.

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