Jose Mourinho believes Roma can hang on to Nicolo Zaniolo as the Italy midfielder pushes for a move before the transfer window closes.
The 23-year-old has been linked with various clubs but particularly Tottenham, Mourinho’s former team, and the Roma head coach is well aware Zaniolo’s head has been turned.
Zaniolo played no part in Roma’s 2-0 win against Spezia in Serie A on Sunday, with club director Tiago Pinto saying ahead of the game the player had “put his individual interest in front of those of the collective” by deciding not to feature.
Mourinho said: “The director spoke before the match, and he did it well. The important thing today is to have won with a good team performance.
“I have my opinion and I think he will stay here in February, but the market is open and he wants to leave.
“Showing desire doesn’t mean leaving. Usually when a player wants to leave it means that there are important offers behind it, but that’s not the case.
“There’s nothing on the table, nothing the club can accept.”
Speaking to broadcaster DAZN, Mourinho added: “I have a very good relationship with him, I have always tried to help him. He has made a maximum effort and for this reason I have always defended him, even when he has been criticised for the few goals and assists.”
Another three points!
Paulo Dybala provides assists for Stephan El Shaarawy and Tammy Abraham as we come out on top tonight!
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN)
Zaniolo, who helped Roma win the Europa Conference League last season, has scored twice and had one assist in 17 games during this campaign.
“Right now he wants to leave,” said Mourinho. “It’s something I have to accept, but where’s the offer?
“If he leaves, someone has to come in return. The situation is unacceptable, and I’m sorry that in this story Tiago Pinto comes out as the villain of the story. He’s not the villain of the story but tries to defend the interests of the team.”