Tottenham transfer prompts sneaky Mourinho belief in Roma raid on former club, alongside Arsenal idea
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is wanted by his former Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho at AS Roma, according to reports in Italy.
Mourinho signed Hojbjerg for Tottenham from Southampton in 2020. It was a successful piece of business, as the former Bayern Munich midfielder went on to establish himself as a key member of Mourinho’s Spurs squad.
The Denmark international has outlasted his former coach at the club. He is now in the second year of his five-year contract, while Mourinho is elsewhere.
After his sacking by Spurs in April, Mourinho went on to be appointed by Roma. He demanded his new club sign a defensive midfielder in the summer, but they could not get it done.
Nor was that what they managed in January, despite the arrivals of two different type of midfield players in Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Porto-owned Sergio Oliveira.
Mourinho has been using Maitland-Niles as a wing-back and Oliveira in a box-to-box role. Therefore, even if he keeps both on a permanent basis, he will still be wanting a holding player when the summer transfer window opens.
In that regard, Il Romanista have listed a few of the options available to Roma. One they are considering, per the Italian source, is Hojbjerg.
There is a feeling that Tottenham’s recent acquisition of Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus is a sign that they may make Hojbjerg available. In reality, there are probably other names on the chopping block first.
But if Spurs are open to letting the 26-year-old go, Mourinho may try to sign him for a second time.
Wages prove problematic
The problem for Roma would be Hojbjerg’s wages, which are worth roughly €6m per season. Such figures would make him the Serie A side’s highest earner – above ex-Chelsea man Tammy Abraham – although they could in theory take advantage of the growth decree that helps Italian clubs invest in foreign athletes.
It still seems an ambitious move from the Giallorossi. But since their results under Mourinho have not seen an immediate upturn this season, they are expected to back him in the transfer market to change that next term.
Arsenal face fresh decision as Roma return for Granit Xhaka
Reports in Italy claim Jose Mourinho wants AS Roma to reignite their pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka.
A reunion with Hojbjerg may be representative of the kind of deal the Special One is seeking.
It remains to be seen whether Tottenham would want to do business with their former boss. Besides, their only other options in midfield – barring further signings of their own – would be Oliver Skipp, Harry Winks and Bentancur.
Which Premier League managers would get in their own teams and who wouldn’t even make the bench?
Hojbjerg a Xhaka alternative for Roma
Alternatively, Mourinho may shift his gaze back across the north London divide to the one he wanted all along.
His main target after taking the Roma job was Granit Xhaka of Arsenal. He wanted to get a deal over the line before Euro 2020. However, it did not happen in time and Xhaka’s performances for Switzerland reminded Arsenal why to keep him.
They subsequently tied him down to a new contract, although his performances since have still been divisive.
A feeling has been building that Roma will try again for Xhaka when the season ends. This is something that Il Romanista confirm.
Again, Arsenal must make sure not to deprive themselves of too much depth. If Maitland-Niles does not return either and Xhaka goes, they would only have Thomas Partey and Albert Sambi Lokonga to build from after Mohamed Elneny’s contract expires.
Wage demands would once again be an issue for Roma in their attempts to take Xhaka. But he was flattered by Mourinho’s interest before and Il Romanista believe he is no longer on good terms with current boss Mikel Arteta.
If Arsenal sign Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz – coincidentally another member of Mourinho’s shortlist – then they would be more willing to do business with Xhaka.
For now, Mourinho will be waiting until the summer, when he can pounce on the Premier League again.
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