Exclusive - Roma have rebuffed an approach from Tottenham Hotspur for Nicolò Zaniolo, insisting the Italian is no longer available for transfer.
The 21-year-old Italy international is Roma's prized asset and had been tipped to be sold to finance a squad rebuild, with Spurs leading Juventus and Inter in the race for his signature after tracking Zaniolo for over a year.
However, that was all before US billionaire Dan Friedkin completed his £530m takeover of the club from James Pallotta. Roma no longer see the need to cash in on their stars and instead have big plans for the future.
A source has confirmed to 90min that Friedkin wants to see Roma challenging for Serie A and is adamant that his reign will not begin with the departure of Zaniolo.
Spurs boss José Mourinho had held out hope that he would be able to lure Zaniolo to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with doubts lingering over the future of Tanguy Ndombele. Chairman Daniel Levy even arranged for a group of club officials to meet with Roma to discuss a deal.
Unfortunately, they quickly learned that it was a wasted trip as Roma made it abundantly clear that the 21-year-old is going nowhere. Contrary to reports, Spurs did not actually submit a formal bid after learning that no amount of money would get the job done.
Mourinho was keen to land someone with Zaniolo's versatility, having watched the Italian excel as both a winger and a central midfielder last season. He bagged eight goals and three assists, despite suffering a cruciate ligament injury which should have ended his season.
After going down with the injury in January, Zaniolo missed six months of action but was only sidelined for ten Serie A games as the lockdown gave him a chance to recover - something Spurs know all about themselves.
Mourinho will now have to look elsewhere in his search for reinforcements. He has already completed deals to sign Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Matt Doherty, but still finds himself keen to bring in someone with more creativity.