Jose Mourinho is a man in demand at international level, with Brazil reportedly rivalling Portugal in pursuit of his signature.

The 59-year-old is currently employed by Serie A club Roma, having joined in 2021 on a three-year contract.

There are reports that Mourinho is not entirely happy in the Italian capital, specifically regarding player attitudes and the club's financial limitations.

TOP STORY – BRAZIL TO MAKE SHOCK MOVE FOR MOURINHO

Brazil will make a sensational swoop to make Jose Mourinho their new national team boss to replace the departed Tite, according to la Repubblica.

An intermediary of Brazil's national setup will fly into Italy to meet up with the Roma head coach – who has also been linked to the Portugal job – and begin negotiations face to face.

Brazil had been linked with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, having reportedly turned to super agent Jorge Mendes to aid their pursuit of a new head coach.

 

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– Journalist Bruno Andrade claims Manchester United have "overtaken" Liverpool in the race to sign World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez from Benfica. United boss Erik ten Hag is willing the trigger his €120m release clause.

Manchester United have commenced talks with PSV winger Cody Gakpo, reports The Daily Mirror. Gakpo netted three goals in three World Cup group games.

– Fabrizio Romano claims that Barcelona have no intention of selling midfielder Franck Kessie or full-back Hector Bellerin in January.

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio, reports SPORT. Arsenal have also been linked with the 26-year-old, while Ara claims Barcelona are monitoring the situation and may swoop.

PSG are also interested in signing Manchester United's Brazilian midfielder Fred, claims The Sun. That is despite United recently triggering a 12-month extension on Fred's contract.

Bayern Munich have added Leeds United's French goalkeeper Ilhan Meslier to their transfer targets, reports MediaFootMercato. Bayern are looking for cover the injured keeper Manuel Neuer.

FIFPRO has condemned Roma for a "mobbing campaign" of Rick Karsdorp after head coach Jose Mourinho labelled the defender a "traitor".

Mourinho made the comment following a 1-1 draw with Sassuolo in November, albeit without directly naming Karsdorp, though reports quickly identified the former Feyenoord man as his target.

Mourinho said there was one player who "betrayed his team-mates" and urged them to leave the club in January.

Karsdorp initially refused to train following his coach's comments, though he was later present as the club held a training camp in Portugal during the World Cup.

FIFPRO, the global union for professional football players, hit out at Roma's treatment of Karsdorp on Thursday.

FIFPRO said in a statement: "FIFPRO strongly condemns AS Roma's treatment of Rick Karsdorp, who in recent weeks has been the victim of a mobbing campaign.

"Karsdorp has been accused in public of being a 'traitor', a hurtful and baseless term that club management has failed to address or apologise for, and fans have repeatedly used to confront him and his family.

"Furthermore, he has been made the subject of an unjustified disciplinary case.

"These acts apparently are a way to deflect from the club's poor recent performances and are aimed to put unjustified pressure on the player.

"Such behaviour is incompatible with the FIFA regulations on the status and transfer of players.

"Rick Karsdorp has the full support of both FIFPRO and Dutch players' union VVCS."

Jonas Baer-Hoffmann, FIFPRO's general secretary, added: "It cannot be stressed enough that players are first and foremost employees of their clubs and that, as such, clubs have a duty of care towards them.

"We call on AS Roma to immediately comply with that duty of care and ensure that Rick Karsdorp is treated fairly, and that his rights are respected."

Stephan El Shaarawy says Jose Mourinho remains fully committed to Roma despite reports he could replace Fernando Santos as Portugal head coach.

Mourinho is contracted to Roma – who he led to the inaugural Europa Conference League triumph last season – until 2024, but the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has been linked with an exit.

Portugal parted company with the long-serving Santos after suffering a shock World Cup quarter-final defeat to Morocco and Mourinho has been linked with the role.

It has since been claimed that Mourinho wants guarantees of substantial investment before deciding whether to remain in the Italian capital beyond this season, but winger El Shaarawy expects him to stay. 

"We have never talked to him about this possibility [of Mourinho leaving]. We think the coach is very focused on Roma, on the goals we have, on doing well here as we all are, as always," the winger told Il Messaggero.

"He is always present in every situation. Even in the way he talks to us in the locker room, in the match, in giving us the right indications. 

"We see him serene, he is a person of the heart, instinctive, so the important thing for him now, I think, is Roma. We all hope he can stay here for a long time."

Roma sit seventh in Serie A, three points adrift of a top-four place ahead of the resumption of the season on January 4.

Sinisa Mihajlovic was given a fond farewell by the good and great of Italian football as his funeral was held in Rome on Monday.

Former team-mates Roberto Mancini, Attilio Lombardo and Dejan Stankovic were among those who carried Mihajlovic's coffin out of the Basilica of St Mary of the Angels and of the Martyrs after the service, to the sound of applause from within the church.

Mihajlovic and Italy head coach Mancini were team-mates at Sampdoria and Lazio, with Mancini later also coaching Mihajlovic at Lazio before taking the then 35-year-old with him to Inter in 2004.

They had a close friendship, winning the Serie A title together with Sven-Goran Eriksson's Lazio in the 1999-2000 season, and doing so again at Inter in 2006, as player and coach.

Mihajlovic's death after a battle with leukaemia was announced on Friday, a shuddering jolt to the football community in Italy, where the popular former Yugoslavia international spent most of his career. He died last week at the age of 53.

After his playing days ended, Mihajlovic became Mancini's Inter assistant before having spells as a head coach with Bologna, Catania, Fiorentina, Sampdoria, Milan, Torino and, finally, Bologna for a second time.

Mihajlovic was ousted as Bologna boss in September of this year, after a slow start to the season, and the players he left behind made the trip to Rome to pay tribute.

Mancini said ahead of the funeral that Mihajlovic had "fought like a lion until the last moment, as he was used to doing on the pitch".

As a player, Mihajlovic was a tough-tackling defender who also packed a fierce shot and became known as a free-kick expert.

Wife Arianna led the family at the funeral. She wrote on Instagram following Mihajlovic's death: "When you will no longer be part of me, I will carve out of your memory many little stars, then the sky will be so beautiful that the whole world will fall in love with the night."

She also posted a picture of the couple and their five children, stating: "I'll take care of them don't worry. Our greatest masterpiece! We'll never stop loving you."

Former Serbia, Lazio, Roma and Inter defender Aleksander Kolarov was among the mourners, along with Serie A luminaries including Francesco Totti, Franco Baresi, Daniele De Rossi, Angela Di Livio and Stefano Fiore.

The Corriere dello Sport newspaper reported the mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri, was also in attendance, along with Italy's sports minister, Andrea Abodi.

Chelsea are reportedly weighing up a bevy of forward options in the January transfer window, including Milan's Rafael Leao and Juventus' Dusan Vlahovic.

The Stamford Bridge side are said to have already come to terms on a deal worth at least €10million for 19-year-old striker David Datro Fofana from Norwegian side Molde, per Fabrizio Romano, but their hunt for reinforcements will not stop there.

With young Chelsea striker Armando Broja set for an extended stint on the sidelines due to injury, they are looking to bring in at least one more new face – or perhaps an old face.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LOOK TO SERIE A FOR NEW MARQUEE FORWARD

According to Calciomercato and ESPN, Chelsea are engaged in discussions about Serie A forward Leao, Vlahovic, and Roma's Tammy Abraham – who left Chelsea in August 2021.

Recent reports claimed Milan had rejected a €70m offer from Chelsea for Leao, and are trying to hold out for his full €150m release clause, but ESPN's update states it will take "at least €80m" – a figure that is not scaring the Premier League side away.

Vlahovic is also believed to be available due to Juventus' behind-the-scenes turmoil, while Abraham has a €75m buy-back option, but that price is said to be above what Chelsea are willing to pay for him.

Meanwhile, the Evening Standard are reporting Atletico Madrid have offered Chelsea two more options up top, giving them the opportunity to buy Joao Felix or Matheus Cunha.

 

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– Mundo Deportivo is reporting Liverpool will have to pay £87m for 21-year-old Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who they are believed to have made a pre-agreement with.

– According to 90min, Manchester City have circled Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka as two key targets going forward.

Manchester United, Newcastle United and Real Madrid are the teams competing for the signature of breakout PSV talent Cody Gakpo, per the Mirror.

– Sport are reporting Barcelona are the favourites to sign Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, as he would prefer to head to Spain instead of the Premier League.

– According to SoccerNews, the agent of Fiorentina midfielder and Morocco standout Sofyan Amrabat is pushing for his move to Liverpool.

Georginio Wijnaldum has joined Roma's squad for a training camp in Portugal after missing the World Cup with a broken leg.

Wijnaldum joined Roma on a season-long loan in August after spending a single campaign with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

The Netherlands international played just 11 minutes for the Giallorossi before breaking his right leg in training later that month, causing him to miss the Oranje's trip to Qatar – which ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Argentina in the last eight.

However, Wijnaldum will hope to play a significant role in the second half of the season after being seen out on the pitch at Roma's Trigoria training ground on Thursday.

Wijnaldum then joined Jose Mourinho's squad in travelling to Portugal for a training camp and three friendly matches – against Cadiz, Casa Pia and RKC Waalwijk.

Roma sit seventh in Serie A, three points adrift of a top-four place, ahead of the league's resumption on January 4.

Radja Nainggolan has accused former Roma sporting director Monchi of ruining the club, laying the blame for their struggles at his feet.

The Spaniard, who is now back with former club Sevilla, arrived at Stadio Olimpico in 2017, amid a period where the club were frequent rivals to Juventus in the Serie A title race.

Although they finished third in his first season, an exodus of key players – including Nainggolan, and now-Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Alisson – saw them finish sixth in 2018-19.

The club have struggled to recover their top-four status since, even after Monchi's own exit in 2019, and Nainggolan has suggested it was the Spaniard's calls that sunk their once-promising credentials.

"He ruined the team," he told Tradizione Romanista. "He sold all the players. I can't even name him. If I'd known he was leaving soon after I went, I would have stayed.

"We had very strong players, and then we sold them. If you want to win, you have to keep strong players. If you always change, you will never have a solid base to work off."

At 34, Nainggolan shows no sign of slowing down, but the midfielder says a return to Roma will not be on the cards if he looks to depart Antwerp.

"If I went back to Roma now, I would run the risk of ruining all of the wonderful memories I have there," he added.

"Roma was the place, in terms of football, where I felt loved and respected. I'm too old to go back now. I live for football in my own way."

Everton and Wolves are reportedly interested in signing Atletico Madrid forward Matheus Cunha as the Spanish side look to cash in on their young talent.

The 23-year-old arrived at the club in August last year and, despite making 29 LaLiga appearances, he was only awarded eight starts, scoring six goals and contributing six assists for the campaign.

This season has been more of the same for the Brazilian international, being subbed on in 15 games across all club competitions, while making just two starts. He is yet to score this season.

Sitting fifth in LaLiga with only seven wins from 14 fixtures, Atletico were also eliminated from all European competition by finishing bottom of their Champions League group – and they have decided it is time for some changes.

 

TOP STORY - BRAZIL'S CUNHA BEING PURSUED BY PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS

According to Fichajes, Wolves and Everton are the two main clubs showing a desire to bring in Cunha, who has eight international caps for Brazil, but was left out of their World Cup squad.

The report states the club needs to part ways with some prominent players for financial reasons, and while Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo De Paul have plenty of suitors, Atletico are more likely to ship off Cunha and fellow Brazilian Felipe.

Wolves are said to be investigating a potential deal to bring in both Cunha and 33-year-old centre-back Felipe, while Everton are focused on Cunha by himself, with no mention of an asking price.

 

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– 90min is reporting Newcastle United and Liverpool are among a host of teams interested in a loan deal for Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, but the Stamford Bridge club would prefer to send him overseas to avoid strengthening their competition.

– According to Marca, Real Madrid have decided to make a run at Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham in January after his impressive World Cup campaign.

– Sport claims Real Madrid are no longer planning a move for Manchester City's Erling Haaland after securing 16-year-old Brazilian prodigy Endrick from Palmeiras.

Fulham are the favourites to land Roma right-back Rick Karsdorp, with Lille and Juventus falling behind due to their hesitance for a permanent deal, per Calciomercato.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting Chelsea will aggressively pursue a striker in January after the ACL injury to Armando Broja.

Arsenal are reportedly the leading candidate to land Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic after an injury to Gabriel Jesus exposed their lack of depth in attack.

Vlahovic, 22, was purchased from Fiorentina for €70million in January this year, and started the current Serie A campaign in fine form, with six goals and an assist from his first 10 starts.

He missed Juventus' final four league games leading into the World Cup break due to an adductor injury, and failed to make much of an impact for Serbia in Qatar, scoring one goal from a combined 79 minutes on the field.

While he still has another three seasons on his contract, Juventus' behind-the-scenes turmoil could make the young talent available as the club sort out their financial issues.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL EMERGE AS FAVOURITES FOR SERBIA'S VLAHOVIC

According to Calciomercato, Vlahovic is no longer viewed as the "immovable cornerstone" he was before the season, mentioning the "corporate situation" as an important factor.

The report implies Vlahovic will only be sold if it is necessary to do so, and, more importantly, that it will likely not be until the end of the season that Juventus begin to entertain the possibility. 

With Jesus scheduled to miss three months following his knee surgery, Arsenal will need to decide if their need for cover means they need to pivot to an alternate option.

Meanwhile, a separate Calciomercato report adds Juventus would be happy to exchange Vlahovic for Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix, who is also reportedly nearing the end of his time with his club.

 

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– Il Romanista is reporting Roma will attempt to bring in Barcelona's Hector Bellerin in January if right-back Rick Karsdorp leaves the club as he has requested.

– Sport reports Barcelona could secure midfielder Ruben Neves in January for less than Wolves' initial €50m asking price, but Xavi is said to prefer Real Sociedad's Martin Zubimendi or Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

Eintracht Frankfurt's 24-year-old forward Randal Kolo Muani is reportedly being tracked by Liverpool, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid, per Fichajes.

– According to O Jogo, Real Madrid have approached Benfica about a potential purchase of 21-year-old midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

– The Mirror claims Everton are exploring a £35m move for 24-year-old Watford winger Ismaila Sarr.

Barcelona and Chelsea are reportedly moving Borussia Dortmund teenager Youssoufa Moukoko to the top of their priorities as he approaches the end of his contract.

Moukoko, who turned 18 in November, has been with Dortmund since he was 12 years old, making his first-team debut in the Champions League as a 16-year-old, breaking the record as the youngest player in the history of the competition.

He is also the youngest goalscorer in the history of the Bundesliga, and after being used primarily off the bench up to this point in his career, he started seven consecutive league fixtures leading into the World Cup break.

With six goals and three assists in his 14 Bundesliga appearances this season, he has emerged as one of the top prospects in world football, but his time in Dortmund could be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY - MOUKOKO SET TO DECIDE BETWEEN EUROPE'S ELITE CLUBS

Moukoko's contract expires at the end of this season, and if he does not sign an extension to remain with Dortmund, he will be able to leave as a free agent.

According to Sport, Barcelona believe Moukoko's history as a childhood Lionel Messi and Barca supporter puts them in the prime position at the front of the line to secure his services. The report claims the Spanish giants view themselves as the only landing spot if Moukoko decides against remaining at Dortmund.

Meanwhile, the Express states Chelsea feel more confident about their chances with Moukoko than they ever did about Palmeiras prospect Endrick, a player who journalist Fabrizio Romano is reporting has chosen Real Madrid.

Chelsea's willingness to propose a five-year deal with the option of a sixth year is said to be a key selling point, per the Secret Scout on Twitter, while Sport also added Chelsea "would be willing to pay a fortune".

 

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– According to Revelo, Real Madrid are interested in 18-year-old Manchester United talent Alejandro Garnacho.

– ESPN is reporting United are working on a deal to sign 33-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Milan should give 23-year-old winger Rafael Leao an ultimatum in January that he must agree to a new contract or be sold, per Calciomercato.

– Fichajes is reporting Milan are interested in bringing in Barcelona's Ferran Torres but prefer Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli if he becomes available.

– According to Sky Sport Italia, Inter and Juventus could both attempt to sign Roma centre-back Chris Smalling when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Roma director Tiago Pinto says the club "cannot accept" Gareth Southgate's reasons to leave Tammy Abraham and Chris Smalling out of England's World Cup squad.

The Giallorossi pair had hoped to push for inclusion in the Three Lions' 26-man party for Qatar 2022.

Abraham was mooted as a possible understudy for Harry Kane, having scored 27 goals for Roma last season, but after only managing four in 20 appearances in 2022-23 so far, Southgate instead turned to in-form Newcastle United frontman Callum Wilson.

The presence of England regular Harry Maguire too in defence over Smalling, despite limited minutes for Manchester United, has left Pinto fuming.

"I cannot accept, both Roma and the representatives of other clubs, that people try to justify international call-ups with what is happening at club level," Pinto told DAZN.

"If Tammy is not part of the England squad because he didn't score over the last month, for example, but they called up a player benched for his club yesterday, then Smalling ought to be a starter for England."

Abraham ultimately paid the price for a drought of form at the wrong time, as Southgate suggested in his squad selection press conference.

Pinto admits there is further growing room for the attacker too, adding: "I want to say we are satisfied with Tammy, but always with the perspective that he can still improve, and I am sure he will do.

"We're pleased to see our players go to the World Cup, because it is important for them, but I cannot accept that after a call-up there is talk about the way these players work at Roma as justification for a personal choice."

Jose Mourinho says he was "humble enough to apologise" to referee Antonio Rapuano after accepting he deserved his latest red card in Roma's late 1-1 draw with Torino.

Roma head coach Mourinho was sent to the stands in the 88th minute with his side a goal down for repeatedly protesting decisions made by the official in Sunday's fiery contest.

Mourinho watched on from the Stadio Olimpico stands as Nemanja Matic rescued a point with a 94th-minute goal – Roma's latest at home in the league in 12 years.

The 59-year-old is no stranger to being given his marching orders and did not react kindly to being banished from the sidelines, but he later held his hands up for his actions.

"It was the right decision – my words to the referee deserved a red card," he told DAZN. "I spoke to him after and apologised, but I don’t want to talk about his performance. 

"I was humble enough to apologise, but I will leave his performance and the hypothetical influence on the match to you. 

"I don't want to talk about what we said, that was private. My words deserved a red card, but I will not judge the referee's performance."

Matic's dramatic late leveller came immediately after substitute Paulo Dybala had hit the frame of the goal, while former Torino striker Andrea Belotti missed an injury-time penalty just moments earlier in an exciting end to the contest.

 

Mourinho's side enter the World Cup break seventh in Serie A after winning just one of their past five matches.

The 10 points the Giallorossi have collected from their opening seven home league games this term is their lowest return since the 2005-06 season, when accruing eight.

Roma's disappointing form has coincided with Dybala's month-long absence from the side, with the Argentina international making a difference on his return against Torino.

"There are two games tonight – one until the 70th minute and one after," Mourinho said. "Until the 70th, Roma fans wanted to just go home.

"But in the final 20 minutes we created more, perhaps more than we have done in the last four or five games. Why? Easy, because Dybala came on.

"When you have a player like Paulo and he doesn't play, it's different. How many extra points would we have now if Dybala hadn't been injured? 

"The break is coming up, it will be the right moment for certain players to look at themselves and try a little self-criticism.

"Despite all these problems, we are a united group. A team that misses a penalty at the 92nd minute is usually dead, but not us, we kept going."

Roma host Bologna on their return to action on January 4, before travelling to reigning champions Milan four days later.

Paulo Dybala has overcome injury to take his place in the Argentina squad for the 2022 World Cup.

The Roma forward has not played since the Giallorossi's win against Lecce on October 9 after suffering a thigh problem, though reports had suggested he was close to a return.

That appears to be the case as Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has named Dybala in his 26-man squad for Qatar, a list headlined by Lionel Messi in what is expected to be his final World Cup.

The 35-year-old has rediscovered his form at Paris Saint-Germain, scoring 12 goals in 18 games this season, and he will be joined in attack by the only Albiceleste player to equal him for goals in qualifying (seven), Lautaro Martinez, as well as Dybala, Angel Di Maria, Joaquin Correa, Julian Alvarez and Nicolas Gonzalez.

Like Dybala, Tottenham centre-back Cristian Romero has recovered from injury in time to make it, with Manchester United's Lisandro Martinez also on the plane.

However, Villarreal midfielder Giovani Los Celso has failed to make the cut after recently sustaining a hamstring injury.

Impressive 21-year-old midfielder Enzo Fernandez earns his place in the squad after a good start to life at Benfica, while Brighton and Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister has also been rewarded for his form in the Premier League.

The two-time World Cup winners begin their campaign on November 22 against Saudi Arabia, before facing Mexico and Poland in their other Group C games.

Argentina squad:

Franco Armani (River Plate), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Geronimo Rulli (Villarreal); Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Juan Foyth (Villarreal), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Nahuel Molina (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Montiel (Sevilla), Nicolas Otamendi (Benfica), German Pezzella (Real Betis), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Nicolas Tagliafico (Lyon); Rodrigo De Paul (Atletico Madrid), Enzo Fernandez (Benfica), Alejandro Gomez (Sevilla), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Leandro Paredes (Juventus), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis); Julian Alvarez (Manchester City), Joaquin Correa (Inter), Angel Di Maria (Juventus), Paulo Dybala (Roma), Nicolas Gonzalez (Fiorentina), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain).

Joao Felix is angling for a way out of Atletico Madrid, having fallen out of favour in Spain.

The 22-year-old has started only eight of the 17 games he has played in this season, netting three goals.

The forward is contracted with Atletico until 2026, having signed a bumper seven-year deal when joining from Benfica in 2019.

TOP STORY – PSG PLOTTING JANUARY LOAN MOVE FOR JOAO FELIX

Paris Saint-Germain have joined the list of clubs interested in Atletico Madrid's wantaway forward Joao Felix, according to Le Parisien.

PSG may look to sign the Portuguese on loan in January, having been interested in a move for him during the last transfer window.

Joao Felix has also been linked with Bayern Munich and Manchester United, with both clubs reportedly bidding for him in the last transfer window.

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– Borussia Dortmund are bullish they can ward off interest in their 19-year-old midfielder Jude Bellingham and retain his services, reports 90min. Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are all keen on the England international.

– Porto goalkeeper Diogo Costa may have penned a new contract last week, but Manchester United are still monitoring the 23-year-old, reports Nicolo Schira. United will keep an eye on him during the World Cup, although he has a €75million (£65m) release clause.

– Arsenal are willing to fork out £56m to land Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Mykhailo Mudryk, according to Dean Jones on GiveMeSport.

– Roma are interested in out-of-favour Barcelona full-back Hector Bellerin, having failed to lure Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, reports Calciomercato.

– West Ham have identified Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Kouadio Kone as their top transfer target, reports Bild.

Cristian Volpato's decision on his international allegiance is a personal one that "should not be sped up", Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has said.

With the 18-year-old scoring two goals and contributing one assist in just 106 minutes of Serie A football for Roma, a fierce battle for Volpato's services at international level has emerged.

Born in New South Wales, Volpato is also eligible to represent Italy and has featured at youth level for the European side.

Australia had hoped the lure of World Cup football, with the Socceroos tackling France, Tunisia and Denmark in Group D in Qatar, would persuade Volpato to select his country of birth – with European champions Italy not qualifying for the tournament.

However, Volpato rejected the call-up, not wishing to rush into a decision, and Mourinho believes it was the right call.

"I think it is a personal decision and the club has not been involved. As a coach, for example, I would refuse to call up a player, even a young one, in a situation like that," he said in a press conference.

"What I understand is that he is at the beginning of his career and that he's growing with Roma by getting more minutes in consecutive matches.

"It's not like last year where he played just one game against Verona and then he didn't play again, I think he has now played four games in a row.

"He is in a development phase where I think he has to focus on building his future and not on certain decisions where maybe someone else wants to accelerate a process that should not be sped up."

Volpato used social media on Wednesday to issue a comment on the matter.

"I've seen lots of speculation about decisions I have supposedly taken at international level: the truth is I am just at the start of my professional career and I am totally focused on continuing that process at Roma," he posted on Instagram.

"Making any sort of rushed decision about my international future at this early stage risks being extremely premature.

"There will be plenty of time for me to make the decision that feels right for me, but right now I know my focus needs to be continuing to work hard each and every day in order to continue improving as a player."

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