Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insists he is "relaxed" over the club's attempts to sign Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez despite appearing to confirm interest from Chelsea in his transfer target.
While United were easing their way to a 3-0 win over Stoke City in Monday's [15 January] Premier League clash at Old Trafford, reports emerged suggesting Manchester City had ended their interest in signing Sanchez during the January transfer window with BBC Sport reporting the league leaders have now deemed the move "prohibitively expensive."
Chelsea have however emerged as another club interested in signing the Chile international although United are understood to still be leading the race to secure his signing this month.
Speaking after his side's victory over Stoke, the subject of Sanchez's future inevitably dominated post-match proceedings and while Mourinho chose to remain coy on his club's attempts to sign the player, he admitted rivals are possibly still in the frame.
"I'm not confident, but also not unconfident, just relaxed with the feeling that he is an Arsenal player," he told a press conference.
"With a feeling that he can stay there and also with the feeling that he can move. If he moves, I think we have a chance but I think most probably a player like him has other big clubs interested and who knows? I think Mr Wenger and Mr Gazidis are the ones that know really what is going to happen. I don't know anything about it. Today I don't have one single information."
Last week, it was reported Henrikh Mkhitaryan had been offered to Arsenal as part of United's negotiations to strike a deal over Sanchez. The Armenia international was left out of the United squad on Monday night with Mourinho admitting ahead of kick-off that decision was not a tactical one, fuelling talk of a move.
Speaking to Sky Sports post-match, the United boss confirmed a move for the former Borussia Dortmund star is an option this month - although he did not speculate whether it would be part of the Sanchez deal.
"He is our player so I can speak about him. He has a lot to give us. Is he going to be involved in one deal leaving us? It is possible. But it is also possible he stays. But I'm just trying to protect him. The market is open."
When pushed on the possibility of a swap deal involving Sanchez and Mkhitaryan, Mourinho was quick to deflect the question, instead shifting focus to 20-year-old Axel Tuanzebe, who has been linked with a loan move to Aston Villa.
The highly-rated defender has been limited to just three appearances this season with Mourinho now seemingly ready to sanction a loan move for the second-half of the season.
"I want a squad of 22 players, maybe because I want to make the kid a good player, and I am not giving him [Tuanzebe] the chances I am giving to Scott McTominay because he [Tuanzebe] plays in a position where I have so many players. I am not giving the opportunities to Axel so probably Axel is the only one that I open the door for him to go and play because I believe he is a really good talent and he needs to play."
Mourinho insisted Tuanzebe was the only other player who may leave his group this month, seemingly bringing an end to suggestions that Anthony Martial could be used as part of the club's efforts to sign Sanchez.