Granit Xhaka admits he is “proud” to be the subject of interest from Jose Mourinho as talk of a summer transfer to Roma continues to swirl.
Mourinho was appointed boss of the Italian side earlier this month. It came little more than two weeks after he was sacked by Tottenham. But the Portuguese coach is now preparing to lead Roma’s charge back up the table. They finished 7th in Serie A in 2020/21, their joint lowest placing in the last 10 years.
To do so, he is expected to make a number of changes to the squad. Spurs duo Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela are among those being linked.
But his most discussed target is on the other side of North London. Mourinho has previously spoken positively of Xhaka and is now attempting to lure him to the Stadio Olimpico.
So far, the player’s price has been a stumbling block. The Gunners are asking for around €25m, but Roma are hoping to reduce that. Their opening bid of €13m was rejected.
In an attempt to sweeten their offer, they could give Mikel Arteta the pick of two players the Emirates club have eyed previously.
Xhaka weighs in on links
While his future up in the air, Xhaka has now commented on the speculation linking him with i Giallorossi. And if his remarks are anything to go by, working with Mourinho is appealing to him.
Speaking to Blick (via Goal) he said: “Honestly, I didn’t hear what Mourinho said, but that makes you proud.
“Everyone knows Mourinho and what he has achieved. Mourinho knows how to win trophies.
“You can now see what work I have done over the past few years.”
But the 28-year-old, who joined Arsenal in 2o16, suggests a deal is not close as his focus is currently elsewhere.
“Of course I read the rumours too, but now I’m one hundred per cent focused on the national team,” he said.
“That’s more important than Arsenal or rumours right now.
“I have another two years on my contract in London and at Arsenal, they know what they have in me. When the time comes and we can, may or must talk about a transfer, I’ll be here.”