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."
|Bale makes emphatic point after Champions League omission|
|Casemiro: I bet Ronaldo stays at Madrid|
|Brewers pull away for blowout win over Mets|
|Warriors´ outburst sinks Rockets, forces game seven|
|MLS Review: Timbers win sixth straight, Techera scores hat-trick|
|It was like wrestling – Klopp unhappy with Ramos challenge on Salah|
|McKinnon says 49ers aiming to win Super Bowl this season|
|Choo makes history with walk-off home run, Rangers seeking ball|
|Shin-Soo Choo makes history with walk-off home run, Rangers seeking ball|
|Marcelo: I think Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Real Madrid|
|Miller-Uibo shines as Semenya sets record in Eugene|
|Rose extends lead as Spieth slides|
|Prompt recovery, Salah – Ramos wishes Liverpool star well|
|Indians reliever Miller headed back to disabled list|
|Warriors´ Iguodala to miss game six against Rockets|
|I shouldn´t have done it – Ronaldo accepts future comments mistimed|
|Klopp: Liverpool behind Karius after Champions League horror show|
|Karius´ final blunders could destroy his career – Kahn|
|Zidane understands Bale frustration|
|Bale, Karius send Twitter into overdrive in action-packed Champions League final|
|Ronaldo: It should be called the CR7 Champions League|
|Zidane revels in Madrid´s third successive Champions League title|
|I lost Liverpool the game – Karius apologises for Champions League errors|
|Barcelona congratulate Champions League winners Real Madrid|
|Salah injury update: Egyptian FA calm World Cup fears|
|Ronaldo must stay with Madrid - Zidane|
|Champions League final player ratings: Bale stars as Karius shocker costs Liverpool|
|Cristiano is happy and will continue to be happy – Perez cools Ronaldo future talk|
|Win as a team, lose as a team - Liverpool captain Henderson not blaming Karius|
|Modric: Madrid have built dynasty like Bulls, Celtics and Lakers|
|Where would Cristiano go? - Benzema predicts Ronaldo stays at Madrid|
|We do not think about that - Zidane shrugs off Ronaldo exit talk|
|The divine right of kings: Zidane´s Real Madrid ride luck all the way to greatness|
|Klopp fears Salah will miss World Cup|
|Du Plessis returns, 17 uncapped players selected by South Africa|
|Bale demands playing time after Champions League heroics|
|Ramos: Ronaldo is indispensable to Real Madrid|
|It´s been beautiful to play for Real Madrid - Ronaldo hints at shock exit|
|Salah injury marked beginning of the end for Liverpool|
|Bale double makes Champions League history|
|Bale, Mandzukic & the best Champions League final goals|
|Real Madrid 3 Liverpool 1: Brilliant Bale undoes Klopp and calamity Karius|
|Jokanovic proud Fulham stuck to style in Wembley win|
|Real Madrid´s Carvajal limps out of final to prompt Spain fears|
|Broughton and Catalans continue fine form|
|Tearful Salah off injured in Champions League final|
|Leinster complete historic double by beating Scarlets|
|Lions snatch win from Stormers, Brumbies stun Bulls|
|Bale sits out warm-up ahead of Champions League final|
|Cavaliers´ Kevin Love ruled out of game seven|
|Pavlyuchenkova saves two match points to win Strasbourg epic|
|Benzema comparisons have made me stronger, says Giroud|
|Pakistan´s victory charge frustrated by Buttler and Bess|
|Aston Villa 0 Fulham 1: Cairney secures Premier League return|
|Isco preferred to Bale in Champions League final|
|Castres hold off Racing to book Top 14 final berth|
|McIlroy recovers late to share Wentworth lead with Molinari|
|Mancini perfect for new-look Italy, says Baselli|
|F1 Raceweek: Ricciardo set to vanquish Monaco demons|
|Goretzka confident over World Cup fitness|
|No pain, just cramp - Farrell allays injury fears|
|Sri Lanka to work with ICC after pitch-doctoring reports|
|Champions League Diary: Madrid fan´s brass act, Liverpool lap it up|
|FIFA dampens Platini´s ban reversal hopes|
|Germany unsure over Boateng´s full-training return date|
|Wyles bows out in style as Saracens regain Premiership crown|
|Fucsovics brushes aside Gojowczyk to claim first ATP crown|
|Not in my lifetime - Shilton will ´never forgive´ Maradona|
|Gutsy Thiem clinches Lyon title to build Roland Garros momentum|
|Martinez accuses Real Sociedad of blocking Manchester City move|