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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 23 January, 2019

Mourinho tells United to forget Sanchez and focus on Burnley

But the United manager did confirm the club are in talks with Arsenal over the Chilean forward.

United appear to have won the race to sign Sanchez from Arsenal.
United appear to have won the race to sign Sanchez from Arsenal.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

JOSE MOURINHO INSISTS the pending signing of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez must not distract from Manchester United’s league campaign when they visit Burnley on Saturday.

Victory for Mourinho’s team at Turf Moor would cut leaders Manchester City’s advantage at the top of the Premier League to nine points — the first time their lead has been down to single digits since the start of December when Pep Guardiola’s side won the derby match at Old Trafford. City will play later in the day against Newcastle.

Mourinho is desperate for United to forget the high-profile pursuit of Sanchez and focus only on Sean Dyche’s team.

“There is nothing new,” Mourinho told reporters on Friday regarding Sanchez’s possible move to Old Trafford.

“I think clearly everybody knows that we are there and especially when the Arsenal manager (Arsene Wenger) speaks so clearly like he did.

“There is no point in trying to hide or deny but it is not done at all. So in this moment, (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan our player, Sanchez an Arsenal player and with a match tomorrow (Saturday) I want to switch off and focus on the most important thing, which is the match.”

Sanchez’s proposed move to Old Trafford would cost the club a reported €180 million when fees and salaries are factored in and involves United midfielder Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction to Arsenal.

It is understood Sanchez has agreed to United’s offer but that Mkhitaryan still has to complete negotiations with London giants Arsenal before the transfer can be formalised.

Mourinho was vague when asked if the signing was dependent on Mkhitaryan joining the Gunners but did confirm the Armenian will not play at Burnley.

“I don’t know,” said experienced Portuguese boss Mourinho. “Sometimes people think transfers involve a lot the managers in the negotiations.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Rui Vieira

“I think it depends on the profile of the club, the way we establish our jobs and in my case when it goes to the table of negotiations I like to be out (not involved).”

He added: “I am out and I will just calmly wait for news, no more than that.

“I will speak with you (the media) if one day we sign him, I can speak with you about him and what he can bring to our team.

“He’s an Arsenal player, he’s not my player, there’s no point in me speaking about something that may or may not happen.”

British media have reported that once United have sealed the signing of Sanchez, they will move onto another significant piece of business for the January transfer window — signing Mourinho to a new, long-term deal.

The United manager is being offered a two-year extension to his existing contract, due to expire at the end of next season, but is relaxed over the time-scale for the signing.

“My contract ends July 2019, so plenty of time to speak,” he insisted. “I know that the club is happy and the owners, the board are happy, they know I am happy and when that’s the case one day we decide to do something we will do it easily. But plenty of time.”

Meanwhile Mourinho praised left-back Luke Shaw, who has started five consecutive games for United in the absence of the suspended Ashley Young, now available to play against Burnley.

Shaw’s future at Old Trafford looked in doubt as he struggled for fitness and form following an horrendous leg break in 2015.

“Luke has played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was already improving and playing well when I started playing him after that long spell without minutes.

“I’m really happy. You look at the transfer market, I can say that in this moment I don’t see many left-backs better than Luke Shaw.”

© AFP 2018

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