Jose Mourinho all but confirmed that Manchester United have joined the race to sign Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
Several reports claim United have made a last-ditch effort to beat rivals Manchester City to Sanchez’s signature, and Mourinho seemed to confirm as much on Friday.
“Sanchez is an Arsenal player. I don’t know but probably this weekend he is going to defend Arsenal colours, so I don’t think it’s correct to say things about him,” the United boss said during his press conference on Friday.
“At the general level, what I can say is myself and the Manchester United board and owners, we don’t believe a lot in the January market.
“We don’t believe in signing a player just to sign a player. What we believe is there are some players in the football world, if you have the chance to sign them in January, March or July, you have to try. And that’s it.”
He added: “But in relation to Alexis Sanchez I don’t say a word.
“The only word I can say is he is a phenomenal player, apart from that Arsenal player and I feel I shouldn’t say much more than this.”
City are understood to only be offering £20million for Sanchez, but United’s bid is reportedly closer to Arsenal’s asking price of £35m. As a result of the Gunners’ asking price, several reports now claim that City’s interest has cooled.
On Friday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said he could not provide any concrete info on Sanchez’s future, although he did say a “bidding war” for the player would be beneficial to the Gunners.
The reason the Chilean is not commanding a higher fee is because he is out of contract at Arsenal at the end of the season, at which point he could leave on a free transfer.
Even Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has weighed in on Sanchez’s price, saying it would be a good investment to buy him at a fraction of his worth.
“He’s a great player and he knows very well that in my first season in Juventus we tried to buy him from Udinese and then he decided to go to Udinese,” said Conte.
“I have great admiration for great players, I think Alexis Sanchez is one of these players.
“If Manchester City want Alexis Sanchez, they buy Alexis Sanchez and they don’t have problem.
“I think it’s a good investment because we are talking about a top player and I’m hearing that the amount is around £20m. If you buy Alexis Sanchez with a normal price maybe 80 or 90 million euros.”
The latest on Zlatan
Mourinho also offered a slightly worrying update on striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, revealing he is set for a lengthier spell on the sidelines than originally thought.
“Zlatan is injured or is not totally happy with his condition. He fought like a tiger, like he likes to say, to be back, which he did.
“He was starting having minutes here and there and had a start and had 60 mins in one game, start another one and had 45 and he was not happy with his feelings,” Mourinho said.
“He consulted other doctors and other opinions, and we all made the decision to stop treatment. When he’s feeling really good, he can come back to work.
“The date for him to be back to training with the team was around the end of January or beginning of February, so let’s hope his feelings are better and we have him as soon as possible.”