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Mourinho ready to cut fringe players

  • Ian Whittell

    Agence France-Presse

Manchester | Sat, December 16, 2017 | 09:30 am
Mourinho ready to cut fringe players Manchester United's manager Jose Mourinho attends a team training session at the club's training complex near Carrington, Manchester in England on Dec. 4 on the eve of their UEFA Champions League Group A soccer match against CSKA Moscow. (AFP/Paul Ellis)

Jose Mourinho will allow any unhappy fringe player to leave Manchester United in the January transfer window, which will spark speculation over the futures of the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Mourinho 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 teammates 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.

"I think for the right price," said Mourinho, when asked if he would listen to offers in such circumstances. 

"That's my approach as a manager, in cases where the club advises me. I think every player has a price. 

"If a player is not happy, if a player brings with him the request with the number that we consider a good number for us -- like it happened for us last season with Memphis and Morgan -- I would never say no."

The case of Mkhitaryan has been curious after the Armenian midfielder put in a strong second half to last season and appeared a key player in Mourinho's side.

But his form has progressively dipped this season and he has not started for Mourinho since United's defeat at Chelsea at the start of November, finding it increasingly difficult to land a place even on the bench.

'I didn't celebrate either'

Mkhitaryan, who arrived at United 18 months ago in a £26 million ($34million) deal from Borussia Dortmund after a stellar Bundesliga career, has seen his name linked with potential moves as a possible makeweight in any deals Mourinho might wish to pull off next month.

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.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has responded to questions about why Romelu Lukaku appeared not to celebrate his winning goal in that victory over Bournemouth.

The Belgian striker hardly responded after heading United into the lead, with what proved to be the only goal of the game.

But in a week in which the behaviour of Manchester City players was in the spotlight after they celebrated wildly at Old Trafford after their derby victory, Mourinho insisted his response was simply an effort to remain on an even keel.

"I didn't celebrate either," said Mourinho.

"I don't celebrate goals in a very enthusiastic way. If you score a goal in the last minute that gives you the victory then yes you lose your balance and you don't control your emotion.

"After that goal there is a long time to go and anything can happen in football. I'm not acting to the cameras or the fans."

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