Jose Mourinho urges Tottenham to take Roma star off his hands with telling admission about player’s behaviour
AS Roma boss Jose Mourinho has provided an honest analysis of the Nicolo Zaniolo situation after the player refused to negotiate with Bournemouth amid interest from Tottenham.
The north London outfit began negotiations with Roma over Zaniolo’s potential signing earlier this week. However, a problem soon emerged in the talks. Roma made clear their desire to receive an immediate fee by selling the winger permanently, but Tottenham only want to capture him on loan with the obligation to buy this summer.
To make matters worse, Roma set their asking price at between £31-35m, whereas Tottenham are only willing to pay between £17.5m-22m for Zaniolo.
Due to their hesitation, Antonio Conte’s side now have two transfer rivals in the pursuit of Zaniolo. They are AC Milan and Bournemouth.
On Thursday, Fabrizio Romano revealed Bournemouth had submitted a £26.4m proposal to Roma. Zaniolo moving to the Vitality Stadium for this amount would have made him the Cherries’ record signing.
Luckily for Conte and Spurs, the 23-year-old rejected Bournemouth. He still hopes to join a ‘top club’ instead and ‘dreams’ of playing for Spurs.
There has now been a significant update on the situation from Roma manager Mourinho. Ahead of their game against Napoli on Sunday evening, Mourinho said it was ‘unfortunate’ Zaniolo would be staying with the club after previously revealing his desire to move on.
“Unfortunately, Zaniolo seems to be staying,” he said. “I say that because he told all of us that he doesn’t want to play or train for Roma.
‘Unfortunate’ attacker might stay at Roma – Jose Mourinho
“After the game with Spezia I said I thought he would stay. And now I say unfortunately it looks like that’s the case.
“I can’t tell you the details, but he is not available tomorrow. All that matters now is that we are focused on tomorrow’s game with the players who want to do well for this club.”
It seems Mourinho is pleading with other clubs, including Spurs, to take Zaniolo off his hands. He will not want the Italian causing problems in the Roma dressing room due to him not wanting to be there.
It will be intriguing to see whether Mourinho’s comments work. He could take the plea a step further by using his contacts at Spurs to convince them to make another bid.
It is easy to understand why Zaniolo pushed back Bournemouth’s advances. He does not want to drop out of European competition to take part in a relegation fight. Plus, Roma are one of the most iconic clubs in Europe, while Bournemouth are some way off that level.
But there is a reason why Spurs are unwilling to spend more than £22m on the attacker. He has been unreliable for Roma this campaign. Plus, he has only found the back of the net twice in 17 matches.
If Spurs refuse to submit an improved bid, then Zaniolo may have to admit defeat and spend the rest of the season at Roma. He will need to improve his performances and output if he wants to achieve that move to a ‘top club’ he is after.
Meanwhile, Spurs have been backed to scupper PSG’s move for a top Inter Milan ace.