Jose Mourinho thinks Roma can keep Nicolo Zaniolo as the Italian midfielder pushes for a move before the transfer window closes.
The 23-year-old has been linked to various clubs, but especially Mourinho’s ex-team Tottenham, and the Roma boss is well aware that Zaniolo has turned his head.
Zaniolo played no role in Roma’s 2-0 win over Spezia on Sunday in Serie A, with club director Thiago Pinto saying before the game that the player had “put his personal interests ahead of the interests of the team” by choosing not to play.
Mourinho said: “The director spoke before the match and he did it well. Today it is important to win with a good team game.
“I have my own opinion and I think he will stay here in February, but the market is open and he wants to leave.
“Showing desire does not mean leaving. Usually, when a player wants to leave, it means that there are important offers behind it, but this is not the case.
“There is nothing on the table, nothing the club can accept.”
In an interview with DAZN, Mourinho added: “I have a very good relationship with him, I always tried to help him. He did his best and for that reason I always defended him even when he was criticized for several goals and assists.”
Three more points!
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) January 22, 2023
Zaniolo, who helped Roma win the Conference League last season, scored twice and provided one assist in 17 games this campaign.
“Now he wants to leave,” Mourinho said. “That’s what I have to accept, but where’s the offer?
“If he leaves, someone has to come to replace him. The situation is unacceptable, and I’m sorry that in this story, Thiago Pinto appears as the villain of this story. He is not the villain of the story, but he is trying to protect the interests of the team.”