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Sunday 24 June 2018

Jose in hunt for Sanchez

Mourinho refuses to rule out United offer

Alexis Sanchez is the subject of a transfer battle between both Manchester clubs as the Chilean looks ever more likely to leave Arsenal this month
Alexis Sanchez is the subject of a transfer battle between both Manchester clubs as the Chilean looks ever more likely to leave Arsenal this month
Jose Mourinho

Manchester City could walk away from a deal to sign Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, with Jose Mourinho refusing to dismiss Manchester United's own interest in the Chilean.

Sanchez has been a long-time target for City but it is understood that the Premier League leaders feel the overall cost to sign the forward this month - including transfer fee, agent costs and wage demands - is currently too high and must come down.

The 29-year-old is out of contract in the summer and City would hope to do a deal for around £20million, yet it is believed they have been quoted £35milliion.

Pep Guardiola's club are unconcerned that their stance opens the door for another club to step, even if that team is their cross-city rivals United.

And Mourinho did little to quash any potential move from United when asked about their possible interest in Sanchez.

"I don't think it's correct to say things about Alexis Sanchez," he said.

"What I can say is that myself and the Manchester United board, we don't believe a lot in the January market. We don't believe in signing players just to sign a player, just to do something.

"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 in January, March or July you have to try.

"But in relation to Alexis Sanchez, I don't say a word. The only word I can say is the same word that everybody says; he's a phenomenal player.

"Apart from that, (he's an) Arsenal player, I feel I shouldn't say much more than this."

Mourinho also claimed he now regards his bitter feud with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte with "contempt".

The two Premier League bosses have traded barbs since the new year after Mourinho's comment that he did not feel the need to behave like "a clown" during games touched a nerve with Conte.

That sparked an extraordinary war of words between the pair, where Conte accused Mourinho of having "demenza senile", which directly translates as senile dementia, prompting the United boss to hit back by appearing to allude to a four-month suspension Conte served for failing to report match-fixing during his time in Italy.

Conte, who was later cleared of any wrongdoing on that front, responded by accusing Mourinho of being "fake" and "a little man".

"I think when a person insults another, you can expect a response or you can expect contempt, silence," Mourinho said.

"The first time he insulted me I had a response that I know touched the point where he really feels hurt.

"Then he insulted me for a second time, but now I change, and now (there is) contempt and for me, contempt means end of the story."

The duo's row has added extra spice to Chelsea's trip to Old Trafford later this season, which is scheduled to be on Sunday, February 25 unless the Blues reach the final of the Carabao Cup.

By that point Mourinho will hope he can once again call upon Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The 36-year-old Swede returned from a career-threatening knee injury in November, but he has not featured since the 2-2 draw with Burnley on St Stephen's Day having broken down again.

"Zlatan is injured or is not totally happy with his condition," Mourinho said.

"He fought like a tiger - like he likes to say - to be back, which he did, he was starting having minutes here and there but he was not happy with his feelings.

"He consulted other doctors, other opinions and we all make the decision to stop, (get) treatment and the date for him to be back with the team was end of January, beginning of February, so let's hope his feelings are better and we have him with us as soon as possible."

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