Portuguese midfielder Sérgio Oliveira completed his move to Italian side Roma on Wednesday, with both parties emphasising which qualities the former Porto man brings to the capital.
Roma agreed an initial loan deal with the Dragons, including the option to sign Oliveira permanently for €13.5m. José Mourinho’s side have been active early in the transfer window as they look to address inconsistent results, with Oliveira joining Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles who arrived last week.
Oliveira, 29, has won league titles with Porto and PAOK in Greece, as well as numerous cups in both countries. His experience in performing in winning sides was clearly attractive to Roma sporting director Tiago Pinto and coach Mourinho, both of whom have pushed for the signing during the build-up to January.
“Sergio Oliveira is a player that will add quality and character to our squad,” said Pinto. “He has won a lot during his career and has gained experience at the highest levels, representing both his club and his country in some of the most important competitions in the world.
“His desire to join Roma was decisive in us being able to find an agreement: we believe it is very important that we continue to bring in players that are eager to play for this club.”
Pinto’s words were clearly relayed to Oliveira when the pair met, with the midfielder asked to detail his discussions with the Roma hierarchy ahead of finalising his move. Mourinho has been critical of his team's psychological resilience, particularly in the wake of last weekend's 4-3 defeat to Juventus in which Roma blew a late 3-1 lead.
“It’s amazing to be here, to join this amazing club,” Oliveira said. “I’ve had a fantastic welcome and I want to thank everyone for that. It’s an amazing feeling and I hope I can contribute to the cause. [Pinto] told me that, given that as a player I have won a lot in my career, that I need to bring that winning mentality here and help pass it on to those around me.
"I am coming here from a club, Porto, where losing is not allowed and is always a problem to be dealt with. The target is to help improve the mentality and the ambition here. The coach and Tiago Pinto want me to help bring that to the group, along with the abilities I have as a player.
“I have already had a chance to speak with the boss [Mourinho] and naturally any player would love to be coached by him. So that clearly had an influence on my choice.
“I’m coming here to help this team, alongside all the other great players that make up the squad here. In the end the target is to win and to contribute to winning, to reach the targets we have as a group. We want to be able to celebrate those successes and be proud of what we have achieved.”
Oliveira could make his debut for Roma, who are 6th in Serie A, this Sunday against Cagliari at the Stadio Olimpico.
By Sean Gillen