Mourinho explains Henrikh Mkhitaryan dropped for Stoke clash amid rumours of player-swap for Alexis Sanchez

by Harry Robinson

Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s future at Manchester United is in significant doubt after comments made by Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese was asked about the Armenian after he was dropped from the matchday squad for Man United’s Monday Night Football fixture against Stoke City.

Mourinho had told reporters that Mkhitaryan would be involved against the Potters. But with rumours of the forward being involved in a swap deal with Arsenal for Alexis Sanchez, he was absent from the squad.

“I would lie if I said it was a pure tactical decision,” Mourinho told Sky Sports ahead of kick-off of the fixture at Old Trafford.

“It’s just a choice of players that we know at this moment have 100 percent their heads in Manchester United and no doubts about the future.

“It is not easy for a player to play when there are doubts about his future. Best for him, best for us.”

With Mkhitaryan reportedly too expensive for interested clubs Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan, it seems likely that Mourinho’s doubt over his future stems from his involvement in a potential deal for Alexis Sanchez.

The Chilean is set to leave Arsenal this month, with his contract running out in the summer. He had been expected to join local title rivals Manchester City but they’re unwilling to pay the Gunners’ £35m asking price given his contract situation. Similarly, while United are reportedly set to pay his agent fees up to £10m, City are not.

ESPN FC report that Arsenal enquiries about Anthony Martial’s availability but were rebuffed.

Mkhitaryan, who has started only two of the last 15 games, is their alternative option.

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