Football News

“Damsgaard is stronger than Xhaka” — Sampdoria president wants England’s free-kick nemesis to sign for Roma

By Ben Green

Published: 16:33, 4 August 2021

Sampdoria’s president, a self-professed Roma fan, has openly offered Mikkel Damsgaard to Jose Mourino’s side, believing he would suit the club more than heavily-linked Granit Xhaka.

Damsgaard, 21, caught the eye in Euro 2020 as Denmark reached the semi-finals, famously breaking the deadlock against England at Wembley with a thunderous free-kick that shattered Jordan Pickford’s clean sheet record.

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The Everton ‘keeper had kept five successive clean sheets, including a shutout against Germany, en route to that penultimate fixture against the Danes, but he could do nothing to prevent Damsgaard’s beautifully-struck free-kick breaching his net.

Signed by Sampdoria from Nordsjaelland in his native Denmark last summer, the midfield dynamo was a relative unknown heading into the belated international tournament, but by the end of Italy’s triumph, Damsgaard was a household name.

Naturally, the 21-year-old has been linked with a hosts of clubs this summer, with Tottenham reportedly adding the creative midfielder to their list of targets, but his parent club’s president, Massimo Ferrero, would prefer it if his prized asset moved to a club closer to home.

“If they [Roma] call me, we will agree,” Ferrero told Il Corriere dello Sport. “Damsgaard is stronger than Xhaka.

“He’s a quality midfielder, he can also play in that role. Let’s sit down, they just need to call me and we will find a solution.

“Xhaka won’t go to Roma, then they need another midfielder. I want him to go to Roma, I’m a Roma fan and Damsgaard would be a great reinforcement.”

Mikel Arteta: Xhaka is staying at Arsenal

Xhaka’s polarising stint in north London looked set to end this summer, with the Switzerland international being the subject of numerous bids from Roma, but Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has since poured cold water on suggestions his midfield stalwart could leave in the next few weeks.

“Xhaka is staying,” Arteta said after the midfielder netted against Chelsea in the club’s 2-1 pre-season defeat over the weekend.

“He wanted to play. He is a key player for us.”