Roma boss has sent a farewell message to Ainsley Maitland-Niles after the Europa Conference League-winning midfielder returned to parent club .
The 24-year-old swapped north for the Italian capital in January, joining on loan until the end of the season, though only made eight Serie A appearances for the club – as many as he had made in the first half of the season in the Premier League.
While Maitland-Niles may not have received the game time he might have liked, he did lift silverware with the Giallorossi.
The versatile midfielder was an unused substitute in Roma’s 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final in Tirana earlier this month – a result which ended the club’s 14-year wait for a trophy.
Maitland-Niles was thrilled to play a part in a season that will be etched into the minds of Roma fans for a very long time and sent a heartfelt message to supporters on Instagram.
‘Great way to end the season,’ wrote the Arsenal man, also uploading a picture of him holding the Europa Conference League trophy.
‘Thank you to the Roma fans, players and staff for embracing me and believing in me as one of their own for the short period of time spent at the club. What an experience to be a part of history with the club.’
Although Mourinho only used Maitland-Niles sporadically and has little inclination to turn his loan move into a permanent one, the Portuguese coach sent a message to his departing player on social media.
Responding to Maitland-Niles’ farewell post on Instagram, Mourinho replied: ‘We will miss you. One of us.’
Maitland-Niles now faces an uncertain future back at Arsenal and looks set to leave the club this summer, appearing to be surplus to requirements under Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners have previously held out for a large sum for the midfielder – rejecting a sizeable offer from Wolves not so long ago – but they may have to settle for around £8million this time around with Maitland-Niles having played so little football recently.
Crystal Palace were linked with a move last summer – where ex-Gunner Patrick Vieira is, of course, the manager – while Wolves are still believed to retain an interest.
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