Jose Mourinho got the better of Mikel Arteta in a transfer battle that raged all summer before the window even opened.
Roma and Arsenal were both chasing the same goal heading into the final weeks of August, while Mourinho’s side wanted to sign a key Gunners player.
The grand prize the teams were vying for was Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham, who chose the Italian capital over north London and dismissed Arteta despite his efforts to sign him.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard, his attempts to lure the former Aston Villa hitman to the UAE were doomed to failure.
Arsenal failed to qualify for European football last season, unlike Roma, whose seventh place got them into the first Europa League Conference.
Abraham started with a bang in Rome, contributing directly to three goals in as many league games for the Giallorossi, who scored their manager’s 1,000th game in football with a late 2-1 victory over Sassuolo on Sunday.
Collecting two assists on his debut as Roma beat Fiorentina at Studio Olimpico, the 23-year-old scored his first goal when Mourinho and co hammered new promoted Salernitana 4-0 ahead of the international break.
It has been reported that Arsenal have done all they can to try to sign Abraham but cannot afford to bring the Blues academy graduate in unless he offloads Alexandre Lacazette.
Chelsea have accepted a £ 34million offer from Roma but inserted a £ 68million buyout option that will become active in 2023, while Lacazette has reportedly opted to terminate his UAE contract and leave for free in the summer next.
He alone has scored as many league goals as the entire Gunners squad this quarter, but Arteta was consoled by keeping Granit Xhaka due to a asking price the Italian giants couldn’t afford.
Throughout June and July, Mourinho’s main target was the Swiss captain, but he remained in the English capital and secured a new contract improved by the club.
Xhaka had started all four of Arsenal’s appearances during the campaign before being sent off in the 5-0 loss to Manchester City in August, before being tested positive for coronavirus with his Swiss national team.
This prompted Mourinho to send him a message, urging him to get the shot.
The 28-year-old is now suspended until his derby clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs were the team that sacked the Portuguese manager in April, but he made an early comeback by taking the vacant Roma seat after Paulo Fonseca left.
Recently asked about Abraham’s Serie A adaptation, Mourinho gave a typically honest answer.
“There is always a little doubt for a player who was born and raised in England,” he admitted. “They don’t leave London a lot so it’s not easy to adapt … but my doubt has already passed.
“Tammy is already a great fit with the team and has friends in Rome.”