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."
|Rain halts Halep as Muguruza´s defence ends and Wozniacki retires|
|Ozil´s racism claims nonsense, says Kroos|
|Malcom lost for words after Camp Nou bow alongside Messi|
|Injured Fowler withdraws from play-off opening Northern Trust|
|Marcelo happy with Madrid squad amid transfer talk|
|Foles isn´t worried about Brady´s handshake snub|
|Eli Manning on Jalen Ramsey´s comments: ´Who?´|
|Cerezo: Atletico´s objective is to reach Champions League final|
|Judge´s recovery taking longer than expected|
|Ronaldo in the past as Casemiro backs Lopetegui after Madrid loss|
|With our ´cojones´ Atletico can beat anyone – Costa revels in Super Cup glory|
|Super Cup loss doesn´t change Real Madrid transfer policy, says Lopetegui|
|Griezmann: Super Cup triumph justifies staying at Atletico|
|Valverde defends Suarez performances|
|Simeone´s eclipses Aragones as Atletico´s top coach with seventh title|
|Rockets GM: LeBron James is ´the greatest ever´|
|Salihamidzic, Kovac not standing in way of Rudy exit|
|Jaguars DB Ramsey calls Bills QB Allen ´trash´|
|Real Madrid 2 Atletico Madrid 4 (after extra time): Saul stunner seals Super Cup glory|
|Ex-India Test captain Wadekar dies aged 77|
|Gundogan ready to step up in absence of injured De Bruyne|
|Djokovic overcomes illness to see off Mannarino|
|Diego Costa nets fastest UEFA Super Cup goal ever|
|Everton feared missing out on Mina after World Cup strike|
|Barcelona 3 Boca Juniors 0: Messi, Malcom net as Barca win Joan Gamper Trophy|
|All Blacks stick with Barrett as Mo´unga misses out altogether|
|Modric benched for UEFA Super Cup clash with Atletico Madrid|
|Cipriani charged with assault after Jersey nightclub incident|
|Hamburg 1 Bayern Munich 4: Wagner and Muller hit braces in comeback victory|
|WATCH: Messi scores first goal as Barcelona captain|
|Iniesta, Xavi and Puyol were great teachers, says new Barcelona captain Messi|
|Moses retires from international football|
|Goals, assists, set-pieces - The stats that show De Bruyne is almost irreplaceable for City|
|Bergeron wins mammoth 24-man U.S. Amateur play-off|
|Hart to Burnley "not rocket science", says Dyche|
|Leipzig, Schalke reject Rudy transfer rumours|
|Yedlin knee injury not serious, Newcastle confirm|
|Bartomeu satisfied with Barcelona squad amid Pogba links|
|Kevin De Bruyne suffers knee injury|
|Steelers QB Roethlisberger in concussion protocol|
|Kehrer to PSG not complete, say Schalke|
|Hopoate handed 10-year ban from NSWRL|
|Is this worth it? Injuries prompted Te´o to consider future|
|Croatia hero Subasic retires from international football|
|Iniesta makes it two in two for Vissel Kobe|
|Chelsea send out defensive duo on loan|
|Zaha 2023: Palace star means more than goals|
|De Jong set for Ajax stay despite Barcelona interest|
|Serena ´still at the very beginning´ of comeback|
|Ajax can benefit from Mourinho approach - Blind|
|Foley not convinced by reports All Blacks will drop Barrett|
|Zaha signs Crystal Palace extension|
|Burnley midfielder O´Neill makes A-League loan move|
|Godin yet to renew with Atletico Madrid amid transfer interest|
|Federer ´feeling better every day´ after Wimbledon disappointment|
|Kante comfortable with surprise new Chelsea role|
|Rugby Championship 2018: The numbers behind New Zealand´s dominance|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Bale ready to be Madrid´s shining light after five years in Ronaldo´s shadow|
|Rodgers unimpressed by absence of ´fit´ Boyata|
|Braves´ Acuna Jr. has arrived as a true MLB star|
|LA Galaxy 2 Colorado Rapids 2: Jackson´s deflected strike sees spoils shared|
|Victory offer postponed retirement, says Honda|
|Kyrgios forgets tennis shoes, Federer back in business|
|Williams knocked out as Garcia and Pliskova advance in Ohio|
|Kvitova sees off Serena in Cincinnati classic|
|Federer dispatches Gojowczyk in Cincinnati|
|Stead succeeds Hesson as New Zealand coach|
|Duminy encouraged despite South Africa´s mixed results|
|Thiem withdraws from Cincinnati Masters|
|Edwards joins Ospreys in consultancy role|