Jose Mourinho believes there are some players in world football a club must sign when the chance arises, regardless of circumstances, amid claims Manchester United have stolen a march on Manchester City in pursuit of Alexis Sanchez.
A reunion between Sanchez and his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola at City has long been touted, with the Premier League leaders reported to have tabled a £20million for the Arsenal star, who is out of contract at the end of the season.
But stories broke ahead of Mourinho's Friday media briefing that City were unwilling to meet Arsenal's £35m asking price for Sanchez, opening up the prospect of a lucrative switch to Old Trafford for the Chile international.
The United boss was keen not to be drawn on specifics regarding a player he labelled as "phenomenal" but conceded there were times when his reluctance to engage in the January market must be abandoned.
"I don't know if it is ethical or correct to be speaking about players of other clubs," Mourinho told reporters ahead of Monday's Premier League meeting with managerless Stoke City.
"If someone speaks of one of my players to say they are interested or not interested I would not be very happy.
"Sanchez is an Arsenal player. I don't know, but probably this weekend he is going to defend Arsenal colours so I do not think it is correct to say thing about Alexis Sanchez.
"At the general level, I can tell you that myself and the Manchester United owners, we do not believe a lot in the January market. We do not believe in signing a player just to do something.
"We don't believe in that. What we believe really is that there are some players in the football world, if you have a chance to sign them, it doesn't matter if it is January, March or July. You have to try and that's it.
"In relation to Alexis Sanchez, I don't say a word. The only word I can say is the what everyone says - he is a phenomenal player. But he is an Arsenal player."
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic is injured, or is not totally happy with his condition,” Jose says. “The date for him to be back in training is around the end of January or the beginning of February, so let's hope his feelings are better and we have him as soon as possible.” #MUFC pic.twitter.com/K6q0q83pLb— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 12, 2018
Another factor that could persuade Mourinho to seek attacking reinforcements this month is another fitness setback for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The veteran Swedish striker returned ahead of schedule from cruciate knee ligament surgery in November but has not featured since United's 2-2 Boxing Day draw against Burnley and is now likely to be out until next month.
"Zlatan Ibrahimovic is injured, or is not totally happy with his condition," Mourinho added.
"The date for him to be back in training is around the end of January or the beginning of February, so let's hope his feelings are better and we have him as soon as possible."
|Sri Lanka hand England their heaviest ODI defeat|
|Nuggets guard Will Barton undergoes surgery|
|Surprise package Svitolina closes in on semi-final berth|
|Alexander-Arnold targets glory at home and abroad|
|Pogba relishing emotional Juventus reunion|
|Alba hopes Lopetegui keeps Real Madrid job|
|Valverde not expecting Messi magical recovery|
|Wozniacki calms fears over knee injury|
|Maybe it´s my interviews - Klopp on Liverpool´s room for improvement|
|Language no barrier to Dortmund dangermen Reus and Alcacer|
|EPCR confirms no replay of Bath-Toulouse Champions Cup fixture|
|F1 Raceweek: Five the magic number as Hamilton eyes Mexico repeat|
|RFU to introduce in-season breaks for players|
|Nainggolan misses Barcelona trip|
|Wozniacki battles through knee complaint to down Kvitova|
|Alcacer: Two seasons at Barcelona not lost|
|Henderson, Keita to miss Liverpool´s Red Star clash|
|Khabib holds talks over Mayweather Moscow fight|
|Wolf in for Titz as Hamburg try to stop slump|
|Davies released from Wales squad as Evans comes in|
|Mbappe on track to match Messi and Ronaldo, says Giuly|
|Coleman, Kipchoge and Lyles among IAAF Male World Athlete of the Year shortlist|
|Serena Williams will win slams again sooner or later, says Seles|
|You always want the best – Ter Stegen open to Neymar return|
|Xavi: My teams will never use Mourinho´s style|
|I knew what I got myself into - LeBron appreciates Lakers are a work in progress|
|Mourinho: Ronaldo loves United but he will want to score|
|Cooper completes Rebels move and takes parting shot at Reds coach Thorn|
|Bellerin amazed by ´born champion´ Ozil|
|Penguins, kangaroos and ´Stone Cold´ Steve Austin: Halloween comes early for Trail Blazers|
|Ronaldo gunning for United, Aguero targets double record - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Ill Vardy couldn´t stomach penalty decision – Puel|
|LeBron´s Lakers lose again, Magic stun Celtics|
|Bartomeu: No Barca return for Neymar, Valverde contracted until 2020|
|Simmons and ´stimulating´ 76ers in NBA Finals mix, says Longley|
|Falcons heap further misery on Giants|
|Vidic hails Ronaldo as ultimate professional ahead of Old Trafford return|
|Warriors´ Cousins nearing NBA return|
|Pogba can´t do the basics – Souness criticises Man United star|
|Messi absence big blow for Barca as Icardi talks up Inter|
|´You can´t cry, that´s true´ – Ronaldo responds to Isco|
|Bartomeu: Barca still competitive without Messi|
|Bills RB McCoy remains in concussion protocol|
|Raiders place Marshawn Lynch on IR|
|Emery calm over title talk after another Arsenal win|
|Green: Warriors have to clean up defensively|
|Mariners say Bolt talks ongoing amid reports contract offer was rejected|
|Proud captain Ozil revels in Arsenal´s ´sexy football´|
|Puel angry over Holding handball|
|Cilic breezes through in Basel, Anderson fights back|
|Ingram: Four-game ban better than we expected|
|Raiders send Cooper to Cowboys for first-round pick|
|Arsenal 3 Leicester City 1: Outstanding Ozil inspires comeback win|
|World Series 2018: Three reasons why the Dodgers will win|
|Yarmolenko out for six months after Achilles surgery|
|World Series 2018: Three reasons why the Red Sox will win|
|Ozil eclipses Klinsmann to become Premier League´s most prolific German|
|Allegri expecting Old Trafford battle against Mourinho´s United|
|Bertens feared she did not belong in Kerber clash|
|Returning Ronaldo expecting ´tough´ game against Manchester United|
|Cristiano Ronaldo confident of clearing his name amid rape allegation|
|Osaka looking to learn from losing start in Singapore|
|Kovac expects tough test against AEK Athens|
|Whyte gives Chisora deadline over rematch|
|Spartak Moscow sack Massimo Carrera|
|Atletico Madrid confirm fresh injury issue for Gimenez|
|Dolberg extends Ajax contract after Real Madrid links|
|Ronaldo an example for Lukaku to follow|
|Bertens battles back to blast past Kerber|
|Ramos apologises for training ground fracas|