Jose Mourinho is determined to succeed at the second time of asking after a report revealed Roma will re-ignite their interest in an Arsenal star next summer.
Mourinho has already conducted business with Arsenal this window, acquiring Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan for the remainder of the season. Mourinho is developing a habit of signing players from the Premier League, with ex-Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham also acquired last summer.
Chris Smalling is also on the books in Rome, and if Mourinho had his way, Granit Xhaka would be too.
For large parts of the summer window, Xhaka appeared odds-on for a move to Roma. However, the finances of a deal ultimately left Mourinho empty-handed before Xhaka put pen to paper on a new contract in north London.
However, the Daily Mail now report Roma will launch a renewed effort to sign Xhaka next summer.
The 29-year-old has featured regularly for Mikel Arteta this season alongside Thomas Partey. Albert Sambi Lokonga was signed in the summer, but the promising youngster hasn’t yet done enough to usurp Xhaka in the starting eleven.
Mourinho won’t be deterred over Xhaka
Whether Arsenal would therefore be willing to accept a new Roma bid for Xhaka remains unclear. But citing Gazzetta dello Sport, Roma are determined to put Arsenal on the spot.
They state Mourinho ‘remains keen’ on Xhaka and will attempt to sign him when the season concludes.
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Xhaka is stated to be the ‘first name’ on Mourinho’s wishlist for the summer. Furthermore, the Portuguese manager is deemed a ‘huge fan’ of the midfielder and even urged Xhaka to get the Covid-19 vaccine in September after Xhaka returned a positive test.
The outlet state the small matter of £1.5m was the difference between a deal being accepted or rejected last summer. Arsenal were holding out for £17m, while Roma were reluctant to go above £15.5m.
Now a year older and with Mourinho’s desire to sign Xhaka as great as ever, a deal may finally be made in six months’ time.
Arsenal enter negotiations with Serie A side
Meanwhile, Arsenal are in negotiations with a Serie A side over a January deal, and the structure of terms proposed has shed light on Mikel Arteta’s thinking, per a trusted source.
Trusted transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has confirmed Arsenal are in talks with Udinese regarding Pablo Mari.
The centre-half has been little more than a bit-part player under Mikel Arteta. Nonetheless, the terms of a proposed deal have suggested Arteta still sees a future in north London for the Spaniard.
Romano tweeted Udinese have ‘opened talks’ with Arsenal regarding a loan deal to sign Mari. The fact they are reportedly willing to cover part of the 28-year-old’s wages could aid their cause.
However, at this stage, an option or obligation to buy will not be included. Any move will be a ‘straight loan’, suggesting Arteta still has future plans for Mari.
Mari has featured just three times across all competitions this season. Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White are the undisputed first choice pairing. Rob Holding and Takehiro Tomiyasu provide the back-up, meaning Mari has little chance of attaining regular first-team action any time soon.
Romano concluded that negotiations are ‘ongoing’ at present.