Zaniolo: ‘Unfortunately’ he will stay at Roma – Mourinho

    Roma manager José Mourinho has suggested that Nicolò Zaniolo is “unfortunately” likely to stay at the club after the winger reportedly failed to agree terms for a move to Bournemouth.

    Since the beginning of January, the Italian international has been closely associated with several teams, with Tottenham Hotspur initially thought to be his most likely destination.

    But after the Spurs signed Arnaut Danjuma from Villarreal on loan, their need for additional reinforcements was greatly reduced and Bournemouth subsequently emerged as the frontrunner.

    Mourinho confirmed last Sunday that Zaniolo had asked to leave, with media reports this week that Roma and Bournemouth had reached an agreement on a deal for an initial £26.3m (€30m).

    Zaniolo’s seeming reluctance to join the Cherries led Mourinho to now expect the player to stay, although he made no secret of his frustration at the player’s hesitation despite openly stating his desire to leave.

    “Unfortunately, it seems that I am right. Unfortunately, what I said after Spice [that he expects Zaniolo to still be at Roma on February 1] It seems to be coming true,” Mourinho told reporters ahead of the Sunday trip to Napoli that Zaniolo will miss.

    Mourinho was then asked why he considered this an unfortunate situation.

    “Because the player has been saying for a month that he wants to leave,” the Portuguese coach replied.

    “After Spezia, I gave the day off on Monday, and on Tuesday there was an optional training session. All the players who didn’t play in La Spezia practiced, many of the players who played came anyway. These are the players that the coaches want.

    “Even those who are not playing must think that the team might need him. I want these players.

    “If a player always tells everyone that he doesn’t want to wear an Roma jersey, I have to say ‘sorry’.

    “The ideal situation is the player is happy. I said that I expected him to stay, but today I add “unfortunately.”

    “Today I say again that Zaniolo will not be available, that we are focused on the match and that I am focused on the players who will be there. This is not the case with Zaniolo.”

    The claim that Bournemouth were a potential destination for Zaniolo surprised many, given their position in the game – they only returned to the Premier League last season – and the player’s own reputation, given that he was once seen as the next big the hope of Italy.

    But Mourinho didn’t seem particularly shocked when he tried to explain the financial power of England’s top echelon.

    “Everything happens because of television rights. A clear picture – the final of the playoffs of the championship of England. You have more money at stake than even the Champions League final.

    “That says it all: this is a completely different economic power. The Premier League is economically stronger than Serie A. Perhaps Juventus could compete [with Premier League clubs]but others cannot.

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