Jose takes swipe at City over Sanchez

LONDON • Jose Mourinho has accused Manchester City of sour grapes over their failed pursuit of Alexis Sanchez, saying his transfer to Manchester United was not all about money.

City tried to sign Sanchez in the summer and were expected to move again this month when it became clear the 29-year-old wanted to leave Arsenal before his contract expired in the summer.

However, City pulled out of the race upon hearing of the Gunners' reported £35 million (S$65 million) price tag and Sanchez's wage demands, paving the way for United to clinch a straight swop deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join the Gunners.

"I didn't listen to anyone moaning about (the cost)," said Mourinho, who has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2020.

"I think Alexis reminds me a little bit of the history - I don't know, it's not a history, almost a metaphor - when you see a tree with amazing oranges in the top of the tree and then you cannot get there.

"You say, 'Oh, I got the lower ones because I don't like the ones at the top'. You like the ones at the top. They are so nice, so orange, so round, so full of juice but you cannot get there, so you say, 'I don't want to go there' or 'I didn't like, I prefer the other ones'. I think it reminds me a little bit of that story."

Sanchez was at the centre of an anti-doping controversy on Thursday when there was confusion over whether he had inadvertently missed a doping test during the transfer from Arsenal to United.

Reports said the Chile international may have fallen foul of the Football Association's "whereabouts" rule by allegedly not being present for a test on Monday - the day he was completing his switch from London to Manchester.

As part of the FA's anti-doping guidelines, players are required to notify the governing body if they are due to be absent from a scheduled training session.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Sanchez or the clubs and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted yesterday that the Gunners were at fault for failing to inform the FA of his absence.

"It is a special day for Alexis Sanchez because you have to do paperwork, you have to travel. I think it's a special event for him to miss a drug test because he was certainly busy somewhere else with his agent," Wenger said. "He has been tested so many times here that it is no worry for me that he has any doping problem. It's just a bad day for him to be tested."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2018, with the headline 'Jose takes swipe at City over Sanchez'. Print Edition | Subscribe