As well as fielding questions about Manchester United’s performance and victory against Stoke City , Jose Mourinho was inevitably asked about the latest transfer speculation surrounding a potential new signing and the possible departure of a current first-team star.
The Reds boss also took the opportunity to again discuss a temporary move for one of his talented young defenders, with a loan spell looking likely in a bid to give him much-needed playing time.
Here’s what Jose had to say about Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez and United’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Axel Tuanzebe during his post-match interview with Sky Sports and subsequent press conference:
“I am not confident, but also not unconfident. Just relaxed and we have the feeling that he is an Arsenal player. We have the feeling that he can stay there. But also the feeling that he can move and if he moves, I think we have a chance. But, I think most probably, a player like him has other big clubs interested. Who knows? I think him, Mr Wenger and Mr Gazidis [Arsenal’s chief executive], I think they know really what is going to happen. I have no idea to be honest. Today I was completely separate from all of that. I was focused on my match and not worried about anything else other than the match. I’m not going to speak about hypothetical siutuations, he is an Arsenal player and he can be an Arsenal player. But I feel I shouldn’t speak about him because he is an Arsenal player.”
“He is our player, he is a Manchester United player, so I can speak about him. He is a player that I like, of high quality, who can give us a lot. If he stays here, he is a very good player. This season he started very well and then he came a little bit down. Last season he was an important player and helped us win the Europa League, so let’s see what’s going to happen.
Is he going to be involved in a deal and leave us? It’s possible but it’s also possible that he stays. We have to protect him and to protect the team a little bit, so let’s make sure that he stays with us or that he leaves us. The market is open. It’s a pity that the window closes on the 31st, it should close tomorrow.”
“I have a squad of 22 players and I want to keep the squad of 22 players. Maybe, just because I want to make the kid a good player and I’m not giving him the chances the chances I am giving to Scott McTominay, Axel Tuanzebe [could go out on loan] because he plays in a position where I have so many players. Today on the bench I had Marcos Rojo and Lindelof and Bailly is still in recovery so I’m not giving the chances to Axel.
So Axel is probably the only one I can leave the open door for him to go and play [elsewhere] because I believe he is a really good talent, and he needs to go and play. But apart from that, we need the numbers we have, because we are playing in the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League. I have to keep the number of players we have.”