During his interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Roma director Tiago Pinto detailed the transfer restrictions faced by the Giallorossi but confirmed José Mourinho still needs a new centre-back in January.

Pinto released his first interview with an Italian paper in almost two years by talking to La Gazzetta dello Sport about all the most important matters of debate at the Stadio Olimpico, from Rick Karsdorp to Paulo Dybala and Tammy Abraham and Nicolò Zaniolo’s contract situation.

Tiago Pinto also listed the achievements of the new owners since they took over the club two and a half years ago.

“I like facts to do the talking rather than words, but after a couple of years of work, I think it’s fair to remember a few good things we did and that perhaps have gone a bit unnoticed,” he said.

“I want to clarify the present and future plans of an ambitious club that want to grow, respecting the rules of financial fair play and economic sustainability.

“The world of football has a short memory, it only lives in the present, but we should never forget the great work of the Friedkin family in barely two years. The economic situation of Roma when they arrived, how much they’ve invested so far and what they have achieved, starting with an international trophy that Roma hadn’t won since 196.”

The Friedkin family bought Roma in 2020, right after the peak of the COVID pandemic, while Pinto was brought in at the start of 2021.

The Portuguese director hired José Mourinho in April 2021 and the Special One went on to win the Conference League last season.

“We’ve won by cutting the wage bill by €25m, parting ways with players that were no longer functional, without paying bags of millions as it happened in the past, as an incentive to leave,” noted Pinto.

“We’ve brought some of our young players to the first team, by working on the youth sector, modernising the training facilities at Trigoria, creating new training pitches and building a scouting department and match analyst and investing in Women’s football. There’s a lot more than just the victory in the Conference League.

“We’ve signed 14 players in the last year and a half, the Friedkin have invested €150m in the market since they arrived. Last year [2021] Roma were the team that spent the most in Serie A, circa €90m including Tammy Abraham for €40m.

“This season, we’ve signed Dybala, Wijnaldum, Matic and Belotti. Had we told the fans two years ago that these players plus Mourinho would join the team, they wouldn’t believe it. In fact, the enthusiasm in Rome has exploded.

“It’s not always possible to get what we want. Due to UEFA restrictions, we can’t identify the players we want and tell the owners to make an extra effort. I can’t say we have all the players we dreamed of, but we have those required for our targets, who we could sign. We live in the real world, not the one only made of desires.

“We have room for improvement, individually and as a team,” continued Pinto. “We must show our best version, and qualify for the Champions League. Clearly, it’s tough to do well in Europe and Serie A.

“I thank Mourinho because many players have seen him as an important reason to join the club. His support and popularity have been crucial. We are all aware of the coach we have, the team and the structures available, we so must do much better in the second part of the season.”

The Special One has been asking for a new centre-back for several months and Roma will do their best to meet his demands although they must deal with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play.

“I’ve always said that I agree with him. We played with a three-man defence, but we only have four centre backs and we’d need five. Technically, every new signing depends on who’s leaving,” said Pinto.

“This interview allows me to say that it’s not easy to operate within the FFP parameters wich we’ll have to follow over the next four years.

“Within the settlement agreement, there is a parameter to respect, it’s called transfer balance. Basically, for every transfer window, the cost of players in the A UEFA list can’t be superior to the cost of the same list in the previous season. For costs, we mean the players’ contracts, the entirety of bonuses, the transfer fee, commission and amortisation.”

How does it work?

“For example, in the first part of the season, we omitted Wijnaldum from the list. We had a €5m margin, but by including Gini in January, we’ll have to cover this fee. That’s why we didn’t want to loan Felix in the summer, we need money to operate in the market.”

The Ghana starlet joined Cremonese in the summer on a permanent €7m deal.

“With a loan, you can save on the players’ salaries, but it’s not enough to generate income. It will be the same in January. Whoever leaves, will be permanent,” explained Pinto.

Mourinho has a contract until June 2024, but he’s been linked with the Portugal job with the Federation putting pressure on the Special One even during Roma’s training retreat in Portugal in December.

“When you get a coach like Mourinho, you must be accustomed to rumours,” claimed the Roma director.

“This was the first time in 18 months that a club or a Federation were interested in him. We had no distractions in Algarve, we were only focused on work. I am Portuguese and every time we change coach, Mourinho is mentioned, but we count on him for the future.”

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