Inter Milan manager Luciano Spalletti has ruled out a January move for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, which ends Manchester United's chances of bringing Joao Mario to Old Trafford from the Serie A giants.
The Red Devils midfielder has fallen out of favour in recent weeks after a number of unconvincing performances and it was believed that United were ready to let him leave if interested clubs met their £35m ($47.4m) valuation.
Mkhitaryan was a regular member of Mourinho's starting XI at the beginning of the campaign, but he has been left out of the match day squad for six of United's last 11 games, of which he was an unused substitute in one. The Portuguese coach seems to have lost patience in the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder owing to his lack of ability to influence games.
The Serie A outfit were said to be keen on a move for the Armenian midfielder, while Mourinho had identified Mario, who has struggled for game time under Spalletti, as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick. The latter is valued at around £40m by Inter, which prompted talks of a potential swap deal during the ongoing January transfer window.
The Inter manager, however, ruled out the possibility of any player leaving the club during the current window, while also making it clear that the club cannot afford to sign the likes of Mkhitaryan, Paris Saint-Germain's Javier Pastore or Bologna forward Simone Verdi as they will potentially derail their obligations to stick to the Financial Fair Play guidelines.
"To keep saying we need to have a big transfer campaign, after the club has made it clear there are certain parameters to be respected, seems to me the best way to get hurt," Spalletti said, as quoted by Goal.
"You can say names — Mkhitaryan, Pastore, Verdi. But they'd cost €30 million and we don't have that.
"We need to go and play our game, show all of our quality again. We need to focus on individual quality and make it available to the team. It will be needed in a match such as this," the Inter manager explained talking about the need to get back to winning ways following their four match winless streak.
"The players need to know that I'm absolutely certain of their quality and I know that they have potential. Things have to be fixed on their own as they have been so far," he added. "In these times, we rediscover the strength of the group, the family."