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Transfers

Jose Mourinho got the better of Mikel Arteta in transfer battle before window even opened


Mourinho walked in Roma with the Serie A side boasting something that Arsenal and Arteta lacked after their miserable season which saw them finish eighth in the Premier League

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Jose Mourinho got the better of Mikel Arteta in a transfer battle between that raged through the summer before the window had even opened.

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Both Roma and Arsenal were chasing the same target heading into the final weeks of August, while Mourinho’s side wanted to sign a key Gunners player.

The grand prize which the teams were vying for was Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, who choose the Italian capital over north London and rejected Arteta despite his efforts to sign him.

Unfortunately for the Spaniard, his attempts to lure the ex-Aston Villa hitman to the Emirates were doomed from the off.

Abraham is loving life under Mourinho at Roma
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Image:

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REUTERS)

Arsenal failed to qualify for European football last term unlike Roma, whose seventh-place finish allowed them to compete in the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Abraham has started with a bang in Rome, directly contributing to three goals in as many leagues games for the Giallorossi, who marked their manager’s 1,000th match in football with a late 2-1 victory over Sassuolo on Sunday.

Grabbing two assists on his debut as Roma thumped Fiorentina at the Studio Olimpico, the 23-year-old notched his first strike when Mourinho and co hammered newly-promoted Salernitana 4-0 before the international break.

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It has been reported that the Arsenal did everything they could to try and sign Abraham but could not afford to bring the Blues academy graduate in unless they offloaded Alexandre Lacazette.

Chelsea accepted a bid of £34 million from Roma but inserted a £68m buy-back option which becomes active in 2023, while Lacazette has reportedly opted to run down his contract at the Emirates and leave for free next summer.

He alone has scored as many league goals as the entire Gunners team have this term but Arteta was given a consolation by keeping hold of Granit Xhaka due to an asking prize that the Italian giants could not afford.

Arteta was handed a consolation by keeping hold of Xhaka

Throughout June and July, Mourinho’s primary target was the Switzerland captain but he remained in the English capital and was handed a new improved deal by the club.

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Xhaka had started all four of Arsenal’s matches during the campaign before getting sent off in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City in August, later testing positive for coronavirus with his Swiss national team.

It prompted Mourinho to send him a message, urging him to be vaccinated.

The 28-year-old is now suspended until their derby clash with Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs were the team who sacked the Portuguese manager in April but he made a quick return to the dugout by taking the vacant Roma hot seat after Paulo Fonseca departed.

Recently asked about Abraham’s adaptation to Serie A, Mourinho gave a typically honest response.

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“There is always a small doubt for a player that is born and raised in England,” he admitted. “They don’t leave London much so it’s not easy to adapt.. but my doubt has already passed.

“Tammy is already perfectly integrated with the team and has friends in Roma.”





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