SAINTS have reportedly been ‘offered the chance’ to sign Arsenal utility ace Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but could face fierce competition.

The 24-year-old former England international is a midfielder by trade but can also operate as a full-back and winger.

Maitland-Niles, who is a three-time FA Cup winner with the Gunners, has racked up 132 appearances for the North London outfit.

He made his debut in the 2014-15 campaign, as a teenager, but has not featured this season. Maitland-Niles spent the second-half of last season on loan at AS Roma.

In that spell, the Londoner featured three times for manager Jose Mourinho as they won the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League.

Daily Echo: Maitland-Niles on England duty in 2021 (Pic: PA)Maitland-Niles on England duty in 2021 (Pic: PA)

talkSPORT report that Saints have been offered the chance to sign Maitland-Niles, with Arsenal looking to cash in during his final year of contract.

However, his versatility and experience mean they say up to a dozen Premier League clubs are in the race for his signature.

Ralph Hasenhuttl has been open about his desire to sign full-back cover, while Tino Livramento is set to be sidelined until December and Romain Perraud fights for fitness.

Maitland-Niles could offer this cover in the short-term, while being a midfield project in the long-term with Romeu potentially leaving either this season or next.

Hasenhuttl has also been experimenting with different formations and, although now looking settled in 4-3-3, could yet need more versatile players.

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