Jose Mourinho believes there are some players in world football a club must sign when the chance arises, regardless of circumstances, amid claims Manchester United have stolen a march on Manchester City in pursuit of Alexis Sanchez.
A reunion between Sanchez and his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola at City has long been touted, with the Premier League leaders reported to have tabled a £20million for the Arsenal star, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
But stories broke ahead of Mourinho's Friday media briefing that City were unwilling to meet Arsenal's £35m asking price for Sanchez, opening up the prospect of a lucrative switch to Old Trafford for the Chile international.
The United boss was keen not to be drawn on specifics regarding a player he labelled as "phenomenal" but conceded there were times when his reluctance to engage in the January market must be abandoned.
"I don't know if it is ethical or correct to be speaking about players of other clubs," Mourinho told reporters ahead of Monday's Premier League meeting with managerless Stoke City.
"If someone speaks of one of my players to say they are interested or not interested I would not be very happy.
"Sanchez is an Arsenal player. I don't know, but probably this weekend he is going to defend Arsenal colours so I do not think it is correct to say thing about Alexis Sanchez.
"At the general level, I can tell you that myself and the Manchester United owners, we do not believe a lot in the January market. We do not believe in signing a player just to do something.
"We don't believe in that. What we believe really is that there are some players in the football world, if you have a chance to sign them, it doesn't matter if it is January, March or July. You have to try and that's it.
"In relation to Alexis Sanchez, I don't say a word. The only word I can say is the what everyone says - he is a phenomenal player. But he is an Arsenal player."
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is injured, or is not totally happy with his condition,” Jose says. “The date for him to be back in training is around the end of January or the beginning of February, so let's hope his feelings are better and we have him as soon as possible.” #MUFC pic.twitter.com/K6q0q83pLb— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 12, 2018
Another factor that could persuade Mourinho to seek attacking reinforcements this month is another fitness setback for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The veteran Swedish striker returned ahead of schedule from cruciate knee ligament surgery in November but has not featured since United's 2-2 Boxing Day draw against Burnley and is now likely to be out until next month.
"Zlatan Ibrahimovic is injured, or is not totally happy with his condition," Mourinho added.
"The date for him to be back in training is around the end of January or the beginning of February, so let's hope his feelings are better and we have him as soon as possible."
18. September 2018
|Allegri, Chiellini defend Costa over spitting ban|
|Firmino only fit enough for bench duty|
|Kovac applauds Sanches ahead of Benfica homecoming|
|Tomlin confirms Steelers WR Brown was absent from facility on Monday|
|Mourinho tells United to follow Federer´s lead amid Young Boys pitch concerns|
|Costa banned for four Serie A matches for spitting|
|PGA Tour announces changes to FedEx Cup Playoffs format|
|Rashford to start against Young Boys, Mourinho confirms|
|Ryder Cup heading to Congressional in 2036|
|I never listen to stupid things - De Gea unconcerned by criticism|
|Aguero trains as Mendy sits out Man City session|
|Lampard fined after accepting improper conduct charge|
|Serie B suspended after Pro Vercelli win appeal|
|Mitchell returns to England as defence coach|
|Brady completes Cornet upset in Guangzhou|
|Lopetegui giving no guarantees to ´fighter´ Navas|
|Di Francesco denies racially abusing Costa|
|Saunders apologises for ´sickening´ online video|
|Tianjin Quanjian 0 Kashima Antlers 3 (0-5 agg): Semi-final spot booked in resounding fashion|
|Madrid cannot live on Ronaldo´s glories, warns Ramos|
|Real Madrid are Champions League favourites, insists Man City coach Arteta|
|Stokes & Hales charged with bringing game into disrepute|
|Stephens slips to Vekic defeat in Tokyo|
|Simeone should teach Griezmann values - Ramos questions Ballon d´Or ambition|
|Arteta ready to step into Guardiola´s shoes after missing out on Arsenal job|
|Naive or scheming - Ozil´s agent slams Kroos, Neuer and Muller|
|Bolton´s Darby forced to retire after Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis|
|Root vows dressing support for Moeen over Ashes abuse claims|
|Madrid more dangerous without Ronaldo - Dani Alves|
|Federer fires ominous Djokovic warning to rivals|
|Arsenal confirm Gazidis departure to Milan|
|Man´s best friend? D´Arcy Short ruled out by dog bite|
|Salah has strong bond with ´friend´ Klopp|
|Mistakes were made in Serena´s US Open row - Federer|
|Burgess wants ´truth to come out´ over lewd video allegations|
|Injury brings premature end to Sharapova´s season|
|The next one´s mine - Griezmann underlines Champions League desire|
|A novice coach and a solar-powered stadium – who are Champions League debutants Young Boys?|
|Free-scoring Liverpool and PSG do battle, Kane eyes elite club - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Braves fall to Cardinals, still move closer to clinching NL East|
|Mack leads Bears past Seahawks|
|Maradona makes winning start in Mexico|
|Barcelona captaincy has changed Messi, says Bartomeu|
|Lithuania qualify for FIBA World Cup after double-overtime win|
|Yelich makes history with another cycle|
|Silva: PSG, Liverpool have world´s two best attacks|
|It´s like a cow seeing a train – Pochettino uses unusual analogy to talk experience|
|Brady discusses Patriots´ trade for Gordon|
|Bills coach McDermott hasn´t spoken to Davis, says he ´didn´t feel a need´|
|Coutinho can´t explain Barcelona´s Champions League struggles|
|Henderson: Run to final can inspire Liverpool in Champions League|
|Eriksen: Everyone expects Kane to score a hat-trick every game|
|Gruden doesn´t regret decision to trade Mack|
|West Ham confirm Wilshere ankle surgery|
|Hughton hails Murray´s cool head as Brighton fight back again|
17. September 2018
|It´s not good enough - Hojbjerg blasts Southampton|
|Patriots sign Josh Gordon from Browns|
|Southampton 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 2: Murray denies Saints after Hojbjerg howitzer|
|Wawrinka ready for Khachanov after battling past Bedene|
|Lozano: Joining Barcelona would be a dream|
|Players can fight for Messi´s shirt if they win, says Van Bommel|
|Kaymer tips Europe for Ryder Cup glory|
|Neymar to face Liverpool, confirms PSG´s Tuchel|
|Jardim backs Ronaldo to beat Griezmann in Ballon d´Or battle|
|Atletico will grow through hard work, says Simeone|
|Sorry Sri Lanka crash out of Asia Cup|
|Pochettino has no concerns over ´easy target´ Kane|
|Valverde expects PSV to attack|
|Salah ´sure´ Liverpool can win Champions League|
|Firmino misses training ahead of PSG clash|