Jose Mourinho has told former employers Tottenham that January transfer goal Nicolo Zaniolo is not going to be leaving Roma this month – unless Spurs up their offer. The north London club have now returned to the table for the Italian forward, who was the topic of a rejected loan approach last summer.
Now Tottenham are once more attempting to lure last season’s Conference League final match-winner to the club after he entered the ultimate 18 months of his current contract.
It seems Zaniolo’s head has been turned by the interest after he asked Roma to depart him out of the squad to face Spezia in Serie A on Sunday.
Yet despite fulfilling the player’s wish, Mourinho expects his 23-year-old playmaker to remain put as he dismissed Zaniolo’s possibilities of joining The Special One’s old side.
He said after his side’s 2-0 victory: “The director spoke and for me he spoke well. The necessary thing is that we won the sport, the necessary thing is that we played well as a team, after which let’s have a look at what happens.
“I even have my opinion, my feeling and that’s that on February 1st it’s going to still be there. However the transfer window is open and Nicolo wants to depart. That is how I feel about it.”
He later confirmed Zaniolo outlined his want to depart this month, adding: “Yes, he has expressed a desire to depart, but that doesn’t mean he’ll leave . Today, I too would love to be in London for dinner with my family and here I’m.”
Mourinho was then pushed even further and asked why he believes Roma will keep hold of Zaniolo, to which he responded: “Because Nicolo is a vital player, Nico has a vital market value and the things which are offered are inconceivable for society to simply accept.
“Normally, when there’s a powerful urge for a player to depart, that urge is accompanied by a big offer that is tough to refuse. There may be nothing, or little or no. For that, my feeling is that February 1 will probably be here.”
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West Ham are also believed to be in talks with Zaniolo’s agent over a shock move but Roma are confident they’ll keep hold of the Italian.
Spurs want to add some extra attacking quality to Antonio Conte’s squad despite his uncertain future on the club.
It has now emerged that Tottenham seem unlikely to increase his contract and that Conte would love to return to Italy along with his family following a rough second season at Spurs.
But whatever the club’s cloudy situation, Tottenham are looking for to complete the season strongly as they aim a top-four finish and potential silverware.
The arrival of Zaniolo would offer an injection of quality with Spurs currently lacking a natural No.10.
Roma are looking for around £35million to conform to a sale they usually currently have no real interest in a loan deal – even when it includes an choice to buy.
Mourinho’s side are currently fourth within the Serie A table and on target to secure Champions League qualification following a sustained period of absence from the competition.
Nonetheless, Mourinho, who is alleged to be frustrated at Roma, hinted he can be demanding a gathering with the club’s hierarchy should they go against his wish and sell Zaniolo this month.