Revealed: Former Chelsea star almost ditched Blues for Arsenal before Mourinho stepped in and scuppered their plans

Tammy Abraham and Jose Mourinho of Roma

Former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has claimed that he came close to joining Arsenal before Jose Mourinho convinced him to head to Roma instead.

The 25-year-old was allegedly approached by the Gunners shortly before he moved to the Serie A in 2021, where overall, he has had a successful spell.

Chelsea fans would no doubt have been furious if Abraham had ditched them and joined one of their biggest rivals, but the ‘special one’ stepped in and changed his mind.

Speaking on Rete Sport, Abraham said: “It was time to leave Chelsea, and I was talking to different clubs in England and Europe. My attention was drawn to a certain London club.

“I didn’t have to move anywhere, I knew the area well. It was Arsenal. My father is a huge Arsenal fan so he was very enthusiastic, everything was fine.

At that time, Arsenal were looking for a new number nine who could be a long-term replacement for Alexandre Lacazette.

However, they ultimately failed to sign a striker in the 2021 summer window, with Lacazette remaining until the start of the current campaign when he joined French side, Lyon.

READ MORE: Chelsea urged to sign £80m man who is ‘like Frank Lampard’ by ex-Blues star, he wants summer switch

Mourinho instrumental in Abraham’s Roma move

With Abraham on the brink of a move to the Emirates, the England international received a phone call from Mourinho, which completely changed his mind.

“Then… Jose called me,” Abraham added.

“I usually never answer numbers that I haven’t saved in my contacts. But he said, ‘Hi Tammy, it’s José’. And I was like, ‘Wow, what a surprise!’

“He asked me how the family was. I knew him well because he had known me as a child at Chelsea. He asked me: ‘Are you ready to leave the bad weather and come to sunny Rome?’

“I laughed, we talked a little more, he told me about the project, his ambitions for the team. He had been in Rome for a short time, but he explained to me what he had seen and what it felt like.

“I spoke to my agents and they said there was no question, a perfect time to start a new life, to go abroad and experience another different culture. I was so ready and I haven’t looked back since.”

Since signing for the Italian giants, Abraham has scored 34 goals in 91 appearances across all competitions, as well as contributing 11 assists, giving him an impressive average of 0.49 goal contributions per game.

The former Chelsea man was also key in Roma’s Europa Conference League triumph last season, which was their first major trophy since 2008 – also making Mourinho the only manager to win all three of UEFA’s major European competitions.

Abraham’s form has dipped this season somewhat, netting only six times in 27 league appearances, but based on this interview, he clearly doesn’t regret leaving London behind for the Italian capital.

READ MORE: Newcastle poised to gazump Arsenal for 12-goal winger as Eddie Howe prepares ‘club-record’ offer