Prior to Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Stoke City tonight, manager Jose Mourinho gave an update on the status of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Mourinho explained that he had to drop the Armenian because his player’s mind wasn’t as focused on the match, and instead fixated on his future, which could be with another club.

That club is Arsenal of course, with Mkhitaryan consistently being linked in a deal for Alexis Sanchez. After the match, Mourinho implied that he believes the attacking player could be a key piece in getting a transfer deal done. The United boss also maintains that Mkhitaryan gives him an advantage over other clubs in the race to acquire Sanchez, although Mourinho did not say Chelsea specifically.


Today brought news that Man City have dropped out of the race for Alexis, and Chelsea jumped in.

“We have a feeling he is an Arsenal player, he can stay there but also a feeling he can move, and if he moves I think we have a chance. But most probably a player like him has other big clubs interested,” Mourinho said on the topic of Alexis.

“I think him [Sanchez], Mr Wenger [Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager], Mr Gazidis [Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive] – they are the ones who know what is going to happen. If he stays it’s great for Arsenal, if he comes to us, great for us, if he goes to another club, great for them.”

Regarding Mkhitaryan, Mourinho offered this:

“Is it possible he’s going to be involved in the deal? It’s possible. It’s also possible he stays. I didn’t select him because I wanted players fully focused and I understand that with so much talk and speculation it’s not easy for Mkhitaryan to play.”

He then added that he wished the January transfer window closed tomorrow, and not 15 days from now.


“So I prefer to protect him and the situation. If he stays here he is a very good player that started the season very well and then came a little bit down, but last season he did amazing things for us. Let’s see what happens. It’s a pity the market closes on January 31. Maybe if it closes tomorrow [we’d] finish with everything.”

One thing is for certain- with so many big clubs, high profile players and big money involved in this transfer saga, it won’t be closing tomorrow, or the day after that. Between now and the 31st, there will be at least a couple more plot twists.

Mourinho, when asked his feelings about the possibility of a Sanchez deal getting done, said he wasn’t confident, but also added that he wasn’t not confident.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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