Red Devils clearance sale?

Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be on the way out of United in the January transfer window. He has not started a game since the loss at Chelsea on Nov 5 and has been left out of the last four match-day squads.
Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be on the way out of United in the January transfer window. He has not started a game since the loss at Chelsea on Nov 5 and has been left out of the last four match-day squads.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mourinho sparks speculation over the future of players like Mkhitaryan, Shaw and Darmian

LONDON • Jose Mourinho will allow any unhappy fringe player to leave Manchester United in the January transfer window, sparking speculation over the future of the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The manager adopted the same policy in the last winter transfer window when he agreed to requests from Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay to leave the club to pursue regular first-team football elsewhere.

Now Mkhitaryan and team-mates including former England full-back Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian, who have been out of the first-team squad for long periods this season, would be allowed to leave should they wish - and should satisfactory offers be made.

"If a player is not happy and brings with the request a number we consider good for us, I would never say no," Mourinho said ahead of today's trip to West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League. "Every player has a price."

He had signed Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund for £26 million (S$46.73 million) 18 months ago. But the Armenian playmaker has not started a game since the defeat at Chelsea on Nov 5 and has not been included in the last four match-day squads.

Shaw has also struggled to convince Mourinho of his long-term worth, although the 22-year-old has recently forced his way back into contention and started the midweek league win over Bournemouth.

With regards to new arrivals, Mourinho suggested he would be keen only on marquee names.

"I'm not a big defender of the January market but there are players and situations that sometimes you have the chance to do and you shouldn't lose that chance," said the United manager.

One such player that United might not want to miss out on is Antoine Griezmann.

The club have long been linked with the Atletico Madrid forward. And Atletico coach Diego Simeone admitted on Friday that Griezmann would likely leave the club in the near future.

"Of course Griezmann will be able to leave at some point, as Diego Costa, Diego Ribas and Arda Turan have gone," Simeone told French sports daily L'Equipe.

"If a player comes to me and says, 'Coach, I have a chance of a lifetime and want to leave', and if he's left everything on the pitch for me like Griezmann, I'll say, 'No problem'."

While United striker Romelu Lukaku scored the winner against Bournemouth, he has looked below par for the past two months, with just three goals in 15 games.

Mourinho must decide today whether to recall Zlatan Ibrahimovic to his starting line-up. The Swede has played 73 minutes in five substitute appearances since returning from a knee injury.

"There will be a bit of rotation," said Mourinho without directly addressing the Lukaku situation.

"I'll change a few players from match to match, because I think it is almost impossible for players to play all these matches in December and the beginning of January."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


WEST BROM V MAN UNITED

Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, 10.15pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 17, 2017, with the headline 'Red Devils clearance sale?'. Print Edition | Subscribe