Zeki Celik has become Jose Mourinho's third signing of the transfer window at Roma, joining from Lille for a reported €7million fee.

Celik, who has signed a four-year contract with the Serie A club, was said to be of interest to Mourinho when he was Tottenham coach.

He follows midfielder Nemanja Matic and goalkeeper Mile Svilar – both of whom were free transfers – to Rome.

"For me, it is an honour to play for such an important club," Celik said. "I have great ambitions and I want to contribute to the success of the team.

"I feel ready and focused. I never give up, and you will always see me fighting on the pitch."

Celik spent four seasons at Lille, winning the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21.

However, that successful team has been broken up over the past 12 months, with Mike Maignan, Boubakary Soumare, Jonathan Ikone, Sven Botman and now Celik all moved on.

Renato Sanches is thought to be a transfer target for both Paris Saint-Germain and Milan.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan says winning the Europa Conference League was the "perfect conclusion" to his Roma career after finalising a move to Serie A rivals Inter.

The ex-Armenia international spent three years at Stadio Olimpico, the first of those on loan, following an underwhelming spell in England with Manchester United and Arsenal.

Mkhitaryan made 117 appearances for Roma – only four others featured more regularly during his time at the club – and directly contributed to 55 goals.

Indeed, over that period, Lorenzo Pellegrini (56) was the only player to score and assist more goals for the Giallorossi in all competitions.

He played nine times in Roma's successful Europa Conference League campaign under Jose Mourinho last time out, with that the Italian side's first trophy in 60 years.

Following the expiration of his Roma contract earlier this week, Mkhitaryan was unveiled as an Inter player on Saturday on a reported two-year deal.

Mkhitaryan posted an emotional farewell to Roma supporters on his social media, reserving special praise for head coach Mourinho.

"Roma is a truly unique club," he said in an open letter. "Your support has been outstanding and I will always be very proud of it.

"When I wore this shirt for the first time, I had a goal: to make this club win and to make its fantastic fans happy. Goal achieved in Tirana! 

"This triumph was the perfect conclusion to my three years in the Giallorossi. Now it's time to say goodbye.

"I want to thank all the people who work in the club for the special relationship built together over the years. 

"A huge thank you to our technical staff and in particular to Mr. Mourinho for his trust and attention towards me and for the extraordinary motivations he gave me as a player.

"I gave my all for Roma on and off the pitch. It was a great honour to play here and I will never forget the amazing moments we had together. 

"This club and the Eternal City will remain forever in my heart. I love you!"

Mkhitaryan is Inter's fourth confirmed signing of the transfer window following the arrivals of Andre Onana, Romelu Lukaku and Kristjan Asllani, the latter two joining on loan.

Simone Inzaghi's side, who finished second to Milan in a tense Scudetto battle last time out, begin their 2022-23 Serie A campaign away at Lecce on August 13.

Milan have confirmed the signing of Alessandro Florenzi from Roma on a permanent deal following the right-back's successful spell on loan last season.

Florenzi made 30 appearances in all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign, including 24 league outings in Milan's first Scudetto-winning campaign in 11 years.

Having played his part in that historic triumph, Milan announced on Friday they have taken up the option to sign Florenzi on a three-year-deal.

The Italy international had been on Roma's books since 2011, but he fell out of favour and spent time on loan at Valencia and Paris Saint-Germain prior to joining Milan.

Milan also announced on Friday that back-up goalkeeper Antonio Mirante, who did not feature at all last season, has extended his contract until the end of this coming season.

It comes after club directors Paolo Maldini and Frederic Massara – who overlook transfer activity – extended their own stays at San Siro.

Stefano Pioli's men begin their Serie A title defence at home to Udinese on August 13.

Barcelona are studying the possibility of taking legal action against Roma after the Italian club announced they will no longer take part in the Joan Gamper Trophy. 

The two clubs were set to meet at Camp Nou on August 6, with their respective women's sides also facing off, in a fixture that acts as an annual curtain-raiser for Barca's season.

However, just 12 days after the friendly was announced, Roma confirmed on Monday that they have withdrawn from the match.

Roma said in a statement the decision was taken as a result of modifying their pre-season plans to best suit both their men's and women's sides.

In a strong statement of their own released shortly thereafter, Barcelona hit out at the Europa Conference League winners, who are managed by their former coach Jose Mourinho.

"Roma have decided to unilaterally, without reason, withdraw from the agreed contract for both parties for the Joan Gamper Trophy," the statement read.

"The club is working on a finding a new opponent for this year's edition. In the next 24 hours the return of money already spent on tickets will begin.

"The club wants to make it clear that the suspension of the games has been due to circumstances outside the control of FC Barcelona, the express wish of AS Roma. 

"The club's legal department is studying possible action against the Italian club for damages caused to Barcelona and its fans due to this unexpected and unjustified decision."

Barcelona are scheduled to face UE Olot, Inter Miami, Real Madrid, Juventus, New York Red Bulls and Manchester City ahead of the start of the 2022-23 LaLiga season.

 

Francesco Totti offered advice to Nicolo Zaniolo on his Roma future, but club legend Giuseppe Giannini sees no evidence it was taken on board as transfer rumours persist.

Italy international Zaniolo bagged the winning goal in the Giallorossi's Europa Conference League final triumph over Feyenoord last month and is under contract at the Stadio Olimpico until 2024.

But the close-season has brought frequent reports of a potential move away from Roma.

Zaniolo has also spoken of being flattered by the interest of other clubs in comments that have rankled Roma fans, and Giannini feels the player did himself no favours.

"If you want to stay at Roma, which is not a small team, you can also answer that, okay, you are happy to please others but that the goal is to stay where you are," said Giannini, pointing out he had not made similar comments during his career.

"Instead, his phrases lend themselves to many interpretations.

"I remember that Totti a few days ago said that he had spoken to them, to give him advice on how to live the Roma shirt to the fullest. I do not know if it has been heard."

Still, Giannini believes the club should look to keep Zaniolo, adding: "If you ask me, I would make him a staple of Roma. For his potential, for his age, for what he has already shown, he is a talent to invest in.

"Let's not forget that you won the Conference League thanks to one of his goals. But it is difficult to judge if you do not know the internal dynamics."

But the 57-year-old – a Scudetto winner with Roma in 1982-83 – acknowledges the suggestion the club have not offered Zaniolo a contract extension indicates they have made their mind up.

"If this is true, it means that even Roma are not convinced to keep him," Giannini said. "Maybe they all agree on the idea of separating. So amen, let's move on."

Stefano Pioli and Jose Mourinho confirmed their status as Serie A's best coaches by leading Milan and Roma to silverware last season, according to former Rossoneri and Giallorossi boss Fabio Capello.

Capello also claimed Inter's prospective move for Romelu Lukaku represents a "blow" for the rest of the Italian top flight, given his dominant displays during his successful first spell with the Nerazzurri. 

While Pioli became the first Milan boss to win the Scudetto since Massimiliano Allegri in 2010-11 last month, Mourinho ended Roma's 14-year trophy drought by winning the Europa Conference League in his first season with the club.

Capello, who led Milan to four Serie A titles in five seasons between 1991 and 1996 before masterminding Roma's most recent Scudetto triumph in 2000-01, hailed the duo's achievements as he declared next season will be make-or-break for many of the division's other top coaches. 

"The best? Pioli and Mourinho," he told Il Messaggero. 

"The first brought Milan back to success, the second confirmed himself as an international coach. Jose achieved a very important success. 

"[Juventus coach] Allegri, [Lazio's Maurizio] Sarri and [Napoli's Luciano] Spalletti paid for their return to Serie A. They were granted a transitional season. Now will be the moment of truth."

Meanwhile, with Inter reportedly set to re-sign Lukaku less than a year after his club-record £97.5million move to Chelsea, a series of Italian football's biggest names have spoken about his expected impact.

Milan legend Alessandro Costacurta said on Sunday the deal would make Inter title favourites, while Gianfranco Zola claimed the Belgian will make a "huge impact" for Simone Inzaghi's men after he scored 30 goals for the Nerazzurri in the 2020-21 campaign.

Capello concurred with those views, adding: "Lukaku is a great blow because in Italy, no one is able to mark him because of his excessive physical power."

However, while Milan are expected to work with a smaller budget than their rivals as they look to defend their crown, Capello hailed their recruitment policy and revealed his confidence that they can compete once more.

"I don't put my mouth on the market because these topics are the responsibility of the coaches," he added. 

"The experience of recent years leads me, however, to say that we must have confidence. At Milan, they have learned how to handle things, and they know how to choose [players]."

Although Cristiano Ronaldo's affection for Manchester United is without doubt, his return to Old Trafford has not gone as he might have planned.

Following Erik ten Hag's arrival, Ronaldo's reported concern over United's apparent lack of transfer activity has made other clubs explore possibilities to sign him.

Reports suggest that a couple of clubs have already made their interest indirectly known.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA, ROMA CIRCLING FOR RONALDO

Chelsea and Roma have expressed their interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, according to reports.

The Athletic has reported Chelsea, with Todd Boehly installing himself as interim sporting director after his consortium's takeover of the club, met with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes to discuss the possibility of his transfer.

Ronaldo has a year left on his contract, and the possibility of him leaving after only one season has grown with Erik ten Hag's arrival.

Meanwhile, Retesport are reporting the Giallorossi are keen to sign the 37-year-old, with the Friedkin group looking to reunite him with former boss Jose Mourinho and build on the team's Conference League triumph.

ROUND-UP

– In the background, United are increasingly confident they will be able to land Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong for a fee of £69million (€80.2m), Goal reports.

– Also, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has made contact with Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling, according to the Telegraph.

– Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks over a deal for Neymar amid Chelsea's interest, per AS.

– Leeds United are preparing a £26million (€30.2m) bid for Club Brugge's Charles de Ketelaere, the Daily Mail reports.

Milan will start their Serie A title defence at home to Udinese, while Inter's attempts to reclaim the Scudetto will begin at newly promoted Lecce.

Stefano Pioli's side edged out Inter for the championship in the 2021-22 campaign, their first Scudetto in 11 years, and will again face stern competition from Juventus, Napoli and Simone Inzaghi's side next season.

Milan visit Atalanta on the second matchday, with the first Derby di Milano between Pioli's side and Inter coming on September 4, when Lazio host Napoli.

Dusan Vlahovic will return to Fiorentina with Juventus on the same weekend, while Milan host Napoli and Massimiliano Allegri's side in the space of two weeks between matchday seven and nine.

The first Derby di Roma will see Jose Mourinho's side host Lazio on matchday 13, with the return meeting scheduled for matchday 27.

Inter will meet Milan for their second clash in week 21, while Serie A will take a break between November 13 and January 4, owing to the World Cup in Qatar.

The weekend of May 7 could be influential in the title race, with Atalanta hosting Juventus, Lazio visiting Milan, Inter travelling to Roma and Napoli playing at home to Fiorentina.

Milan lifted the Scudetto on the final matchday in 2022 and should it go all the way again, Pioli's men host Hellas Verona, while Inter make the trip to Torino and Juventus are away at Udinese.

Former Manchester City defender Aleksandar Kolarov has announced his retirement after leaving Inter.

Kolarov's contract at San Siro officially expires at the end of June, bringing an end to his two-season stay with the Italian giants.

The 36-year-old made just 15 appearances for Inter in all competitions, seven of those being starts, after joining from Serie A rivals Roma in September 2020.

He previously enjoyed a spell with Lazio in the Italian top flight prior to joining City in 2010 for a seven-year stint.

The 94-cap Serbia international won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and two EFL Cups with City.

In a statement released to ANSA on Sunday announcing his retirement, left-back Kolarov said: "I always knew that sooner or later this moment will come.

"Although I am sorry that I am closing one chapter of my life, I am grateful that I managed to achieve what has always been my dream.

"I thank all the people who followed me in this first part of my career."

"First of all, to every team-mate in the clubs in which I played as well as in the football team of Serbia, my homeland, which I have always represented with great pride. 

"I thank the clubs, presidents, managers, coaches, technical staff, doctors, economists, physios and all those who helped in my career, and worked hard from the background."

Kolarov, who started his career with Serbian sides Cukaricki and OFK Beograd, intends to remain in football by taking up a new role.

"I am coming to the end of this phase in my life, feeling great satisfaction with what I have achieved," he said.

"Now I am already focused on my 'other' life in the world of football. I will soon start training as a sporting director and scout at the national football centre of the Italian Football Federation in Coverciano."

Francesco Totti is surprised that Romelu Lukaku could return to Inter but thinks he "wanted to go back to where he was good."

Having only left Inter to join Chelsea in a reported £97.5million deal last August, Lukaku is reportedly keen to move back to the club where he won the Serie A title last year.

Inter's managing director Alessandro Antonello said earlier this week that the forward holds a "great desire" to return after scoring just eight Premier League goals during an underwhelming 2021-22 season at Stamford Bridge.

While Italy great Totti expected Lukaku to move elsewhere, he says the potential return of a man who scored 30 goals in his final season with Inter would be a huge boost for the Nerazzurri.

"I wouldn't have expected it," Totti told Sky Sports Italia. "I thought he was going to another club, but he wanted to go back to where he was good, he won [Serie A] and he wants to keep winning. 

"In Italy he moves a lot, on a physical level it's embarrassing!"

With Inter also reportedly targeting former Juventus man Paulo Dybala and hoping to keep hold of Lautaro Martinez, Totti said that level of depth would strike fear into their opponents.

"No one knows with which tandem they will play, Simone Inzaghi will be happy." the Roma legend said.

Totti welcomed the arrival of Nemanja Matic at Roma as Jose Mourinho strives to build on their Europa Conference League triumph.

"If Mourinho made this choice it means that he is flexible for the team. We are talking about a great player who has shown his worth in Europe," he said.

"To come to Rome you need the right mentality and he has always shown that he has it."

Lille's Zeki Celik and Sassuolo's Davide Frattesi i have also been linked with the Eternal City giants and Totti says the Giallorossi need more strength in depth in order to push for a Champions League spot. 

"To obtain results you always need great players. If these names are available to Mourinho, it will be a more competitive Roma, who wants to aim above all for a place in the Champions League," he added.

"Then he will have to buy other players to get what we have won in the past. As I've always said, you need champions to win."

Nicolo Zaniolo has apologised for Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar as he pledged to become a key part of Roberto Mancini's next Azzurri side.

Italy will miss a second successive World Cup this year after falling to a stunning play-off reverse to North Macedonia in March, and their misery was compounded this month when they were beaten 3-0 by Argentina at Wembley in the Finalissima.

They also won just one of their first four Nations League games, losing 5-2 to Germany last time out.

Zaniolo was absent as Mancini's men beat England on penalties to win the rearranged Euro 2020 tournament last July, and made just one appearance throughout Italy's unsuccessful World Cup qualification campaign.

The creative midfielder is desperate to become a key part of Mancini's next side, and hailed the job the former Manchester City boss has done with the national team.

"I'm sorry, because we have to wait another four years," he told Sportweek. "But let's go on. I'm used to chasing. There will be other goals in between.

"The first time Mancini called me I was very young... He came there to talk to me, to make me feel immediately at ease. Great person, professional. I will do everything to convince Mancini."

Moving forward, Italy will be without defensive stalwart Giorgio Chiellini, who won his 117th and final international cap in the Argentina defeat – matching Daniele De Rossi as his nations' fourth-most capped player.

And Zaniolo thinks the former Juventus man will be difficult to replace.

"[Chiellini] has always been the most difficult to overcome," he said. "He is physically strong and off the pitch, he is an exceptional person."

At club level, Zaniolo enjoyed a successful campaign under Jose Mourinho at Roma, making 30 appearances in all competitions as the Giallorossi won the Europa Conference League, and scored the only goal of last month's final win over Feyenoord.

The 22-year-old says he has learnt a lot from playing under Mourinho.

"He's a winner," he said. "He taught me how to get into position in the defensive phase, where we had to improve and I still have to do it. 

"He helped me to manage certain situations, in the past I would have reacted badly or worse due to exclusion from games that were very significant for me. 

"He taught me to bite my tongue, [to be] mute and work more in the field."

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly assessing his options for next season as he does not feel he fits in the aggressive press-from-the-front system expected to be implemented by incoming manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old showed he is still more than capable of contributing at the highest level in 2021-22, scoring 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances and six in seven in the Champions League.

With one year remaining on his contract, the Portugal icon would demand a fee, but there are reportedly some familiar faces interested in acquiring his services.

TOP STORY – RONALDO SHUNS TEN HAG, WANTS OUT OF OLD TRAFFORD

Jose Mourinho is said to be enquiring about the possibility of bringing Ronaldo to Roma, with the Italian club hoping the legendary coach can move the needle and convince him to return to Serie A, according to La Repubblica.

Mourinho will reportedly have to compete with the nostalgia factor as Sporting CP have also thrown their hat in the ring, with the thought Ronaldo may want to finish his career where it began at the Primeira Liga club he called home before he was first picked up by United in 2003.

If the five-time Ballon d'Or winner truly decides his time with United is up, as the report from the Italian outlet claims, there will undoubtedly be a bevy of suitors willing to bring in one of the game's most marketable superstars.

ROUND-UP

Arsenal are said to be "cautiously optimistic" of signing Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, although Sky Sports is reporting the club are hoping to pay closer to £30million, rather than the £50m asking price.

– According to The Athletic, Arsenal are also targeting Leeds United winger Raphinha and Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.

– ESPN is reporting Chelsea are investigating whether it is possible to replace Romelu Lukaku with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski

United are expecting Barcelona to lower their asking price for Frenkie de Jong due to their financial problems, according to the Guardian.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Everton view Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis as a potential replacement for Richarlison if he leaves during this transfer window.

Jose Mourinho will return to Camp Nou in August to face Barcelona with his Roma side in the Joan Gamper Trophy.

The Gamper acts as the curtain-raiser for Barcelona's season, with the Blaugrana taking on Juventus in last year's edition, which was the first to involve both the men's and women's teams.

Barcelona announced on Wednesday that Roma are the chosen opposition for this year's version, with the games set to take place on August 6.

Mourinho will head back to the Camp Nou, where he was Louis van Gaal's assistant for three seasons until 2000, on the back of lifting the Europa Conference League with Roma.

The Portuguese coach is a largely unpopular figure among Blaugrana supporters after managing fierce rivals Real Madrid.

Mourinho guided Madrid to a LaLiga title, Copa del Rey crown and the Supercopa de Espana in his three seasons with Los Blancos.

It will not be the first appearance for Roma in the Gamper either, after the Serie A side were beaten 3-0 by Barcelona in the 2015 edition.

Nemanja Matic has reunited with Jose Mourinho at Roma following his departure from Manchester United, signing on a free transfer with the Serie A side. 

The 33-year-old has penned a one-year deal in the Italian capital, joining former United team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan and ex-Chelsea colleague Tammy Abraham at the Stadio Olimpico. 

The Serbia international confirmed last season that it would be his last at Old Trafford, having spent five years in Manchester, and has been signed by Mourinho for the third time in his career. 

"I am pleased and honoured to be joining this club and I cannot wait to start the new season with my team-mates," Matic said.

"Roma is a big club, with amazing fans and a coach, Jose Mourinho, who is well known to everyone – making the decision to come here very straightforward.

"I hope that by working together we are able to achieve some great things."

In 2014, following three years in Portugal, Matic re-signed for Chelsea during Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge and, three years later, followed the Portuguese boss to United and was a regular fixture in the first team throughout the managerial spells of Louis van Gaal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

There has not been a lot of movement among Inter's defensive stocks in recent years, with Milan Skriniar, Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni providing continuity in front of Samir Handanovic.

Skriniar appears set to leave this off-season, however, after five years at the club.

The Nerazzurri are reportedly well-prepared in what looks set to be an active transfer window for them.

 

TOP STORY – INTER PLAN FOR SKRINIAR EXIT AS PSG MOVE NEARS

Inter have identified who they would want to replace Skriniar in the event he departs for PSG, according to Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport.

Gleison Bremer and Nikola Milenkovic are viewed as possible replacements for the 27-year-old Slovakia international, as his move to Ligue 1 appears increasingly likely.

Skriniar's priority is to remain with Inter, where he has been since 2017 after signing from Sampdoria, but would not stand against a move to PSG if it helped Inter financially.

Bremer has reportedly already agreed personal terms with the Nerazzurri, while Milenkovic's agent met with club representatives this week.

ROUND-UP

Roma and Lazio are both keen to sign Napoli forward Dries Mertens, whose contract expires this off-season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Denzel Dumfries is open to leaving Inter in order to join Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, the Daily Mail reports.

– Meanwhile, the Nerazzurri are set to sign Paulo Dybala on a three-year deal with his contract at Juventus expiring, per Goal.

– Bild claims that Jonjoe Kenny has committed to joining Hertha Berlin on a free transfer from Everton.

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