If we judge the likelihood of a transfer rumor to occur based solely on the volume of said rumor (which we shouldn't), then Granit Xhaka may very well be the first purchase of Roma's Mourinho Makeover. While players like Rui Patricio and Andrea Belotti were the early leaders in the clubhouse, the 28-year-old Swiss midfielder has become the darling of the Mourinho transfer rumor mill over the past week or so—a point not lost on Xhaka.
Xhaka zu Roma-Gerüchten: «Mourinho weiss, wie man Titel holt» https://t.co/88OfLNnCaU— Blick Sport (@Blick_Sport) May 30, 2021
Speaking to Blick Sport, Xkaha admitted he was proud of José Mourinho and Roma's interest in him but quickly shifted the focus to his national team duties, not to mention his Arsenal contract:
That makes you proud...Of course I read the rumors too. But now I’m one hundred percent focused on the national team. That’s more important than Arsenal or rumors right now. I still have a two-year contract in London. And at Arsenal they know what they got in me. When the time comes and we can, may or have to talk about a transfer, I’ll be here.
Honestly: I didn’t hear what Mourinho said. But that makes you proud. Everyone knows Mourinho, knows what he has achieved. Mourinho knows how to win titles. You can now see what work I have done over the past few years
It's not often that you hear a player come out and address a transfer rumor so directly and while Xhaka didn't come right out and say he's signing with Roma, his response didn't do a lot to dissuade the notion either. His response was actually an impressive mix of obfuscation, ambivalence, and intrigue all at once. He acknowledged the rumors without really giving complete credence to the move yet still managed to leave the door open to Roma—a very impressive, Friedkin-like response; he may be perfect for Roma after all.
While you never want to put too much faith in the sheer volume of any given rumor, the Xhaka to Roma connection is gaining traction in the English, Italian and now Swiss media, so it's becoming hard to ignore.
We don't know when Roma will make their first summer signing but expect the spate of rumors to increase as the Euros approach. As always, stay tuned.