Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says he is “relaxed” about the transfer saga surrounding Alexis Sanchez as Chelsea reportedly emerged as rivals for his signature.
Arsenal forward Sanchez seemed certain to join Manchester City this month but the Premier League leaders decided to end their interest on Monday because of the costs involved.
It is understood that two other clubs, thought to be Manchester United and Chelsea, are prepared to pay more than City – in terms of transfer fee, wages and other costs.
Mourinho refused to be drawn too much on the subject of the 29-year-old after his side’s 3-0 win over Stoke but says there is “a chance” he could end up at Old Trafford.
When asked how confident he was of being able to bring Sanchez in this month, Mourinho said: “Not confident, but also not unconfident.
“Just relaxed, and with the feeling that he is an Arsenal player, with the feeling that he can stay there, but also with the feeling that he can move, and if he moves, I think we have a chance.
“I think most probably a player like him has other big clubs interested. Who knows?
“I think him, (Arsenal manager Arsene) Wenger, (Arsenal chief executive Ivan) Gazidis – I think they are the ones that know really what is going to happen.”
Mourinho went on to reveal that Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was left out of the United squad against the Potters, could be used as a makeweight in a potential agreement for Sanchez.
The Portuguese said: “I didn’t select him today because I wanted players fully focused.
“I understand that with so much talk and so much speculation, it is not easy for Mkhitaryan to play, to play at home, with this feeling that (it) can happen, maybe it doesn’t happen.
“So I prefer to protect him and protect the situation, and in the end of the transfer market, if he stays here, he is a very good player. Let’s see what is going to happen.”
City went close to signing the Chile forward in August after having a bid of £55million plus £5million in add-ons accepted but a deal could not be completed as Arsenal did not find a replacement.
An injury to Gabriel Jesus reignited the potential of a deal but City were not prepared to pay a transfer fee of more than £20million, while Arsenal were thought to want £35million.
That opened the way for other clubs to enter the race to sign the wantaway player, with Chelsea the latest club reported to be in contention.
City were convinced that Sanchez did want to join them but it appears his desire to leave Arsenal this month now outweighs that.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said after his side’s loss to Bournemouth on Sunday that a deal for Sanchez could be concluded within 48 hours.
– PA and Digital desk