Mourinho’s next target with AS Roma is Champions League return

After a busy transfer window, Jose Mourinho is targeting a return to the Champions League with AS Roma

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In a summer of change, upheaval, and homecomings in Serie A, few have caught the mercato bug quite like AS Roma.

Fresh from lifting the inaugural Europa Conference League in May, Jose Mourinho and his merry band in the capital have their sights set on loftier heights this season, but can an influx of transfer acquisitions and another season under the Portuguese ensure Champions League qualification this term?

The Giallorossi made waves with the signing of Argentine star Paulo Dybala on a free transfer from Juventus, leading to over 8,000 supporters gathering at the Piazza della Civilta to welcome the forward, whilst the acquisition of Gini Wijnaldum on loan from Paris Saint-Germain has also proved popular with fans.

Throw in Mourinho-favourite Nemanja Matic, wing-back Mehmet Zeki Celik, and the expected arrival of striker Andrea Belotti and Roma have enjoyed arguably the best transfer window in Italy.

After a sixth-place finish last term, Roma will be looking to improve and secure a return to the Champions League, and whilst being confident of leapfrogging city rivals Lazio, who came fifth, breaking into the top four will remain a challenge.

AC Milan have only brought in Belgian pair Divock Origi and Charles de Ketelaere, but as champions they remain the team to beat. Meanwhile, Inter and Juventus have secured solid additions to their respective squads, with the Nerazzurri bringing back Romelu Lukaku, and Paul Pogba returning to the latter.

Napoli may be the team to target, with the Partenopei losing a raft of key stars and looking vulnerable to slipping out of Champions League qualification contention, leaving the wolves of Roma ready to pounce.

Indeed, the Lupi look as best set as they have done in years to mount a serious challenge in the upper echelons of the Serie A table and have a serial winner in Mourinho at the helm, whilst the backing of owners the Friedkin Group has generated great momentum at the club.

Will European commitments hinder domestic form?

Roma have threatened to disrupt the top four at one point or another in the past two seasons, under Mourinho and predecessor Paulo Fonseca, but fallen away alarmingly as winter turned into spring.

Much of this could be attributed to a focus on challenging in European competition, with Fonseca abandoning all hope of a solid Serie A finish in order to concentrate on the Europa League, only for Roma to crash out at the semi-final stage.

Last season, Mourinho showed his knack for lifting trophies but it came at the expense of domestic form somewhat at the back end of the campaign, albeit less dramatically as under Fonseca.

Roma are back in the Europa League this season but will a taste of European success leaving them more focused on more silverware, or will the Giallorossi have their eyes on returning to the top table?

With a deeper and enhanced squad, Roma may well be ready to compete on all fronts.

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