The Arsenal star appears to be in the middle of a Manchester-based transfer tug-of-war, with the Portuguese boss hinting at a possible swoop
Jose Mourinho hinted at a Manchester United move for Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez, insisting that you must “fight” when a “fantastic opportunity” arises in the transfer market.
Sanchez is in the final six months of his contract at Arsenal and had been expected to move to United’s local rivals Manchester City, after he nearly joined Pep Guardiola’s men at the start of the season.
But Manchester United have reportedly emerged as genuine rivals to City, whose main attraction to Sanchez is understood to be the presence of Guardiola, the coach who signed him for Barcelona.
Mourinho’s side are said to have presented Arsenal with a bigger offer than City, and although Mourinho claims it was not in the club’s plans to sign players in January, he acknowledged that fantastic opportunities are worth pursuing whenever they present themselves.
“Let’s say we have three targets in the summer – a defender, a midfielder and an attacking player,” Mourinho told reporters.
“If in the winter you do one of the three, then in the summer you do three minus one. If we do something now, we don’t do it in the summer again.
“Our plan was not to have new players in January. We build a squad with this idea and I share this philosophy with [executive vice-chairman] Mr. [Ed] Woodward and the owners.
“But if there is a fantastic opportunity on the table, you fight for that fantastic opportunity. If it happens, it happens.”
Nevertheless, Mourinho does not think that any signing will bridge the gap between United and City in terms of points in the Premier League this season, with Guardiola’s side 15 clear ahead of their trip to Liverpool on Sunday.
“At this stage, I don’t think it’s about the market,” said Mourinho, whose United host Stoke City on Monday. “There are lots of already strong teams in the Premier League, not like in other leagues where it is difficult for the top sides to lose points, and there is a very important difference of points between first and second.
“City have a very comfortable advantage and they can sit on that. It is the sort of lead that gives a lot of tranquility and takes away the pressure from the guy that comes behind you. I have been in that situation.
Article continues below
“I don’t think any of the teams near the top – Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and ourselves – are thinking they can spend money this January to close the gap.
“It’s not about transfers. It’s about keeping on winning, getting the maximum number of points from the remaining games and seeing what happens.”
Mourinho’s Man United take on Stoke on Monday in the Premier League.