Jose Mourinho admits Manchester United might swap Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Alexis Sanchez. Although the Portuguese manager also says he’d happily keep the 28-year-old.

After Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Stoke, Mourinho spoke to the media. He left Mkhitaryan out of the match-day squad, so obviously reporters asked about the rumoured Arsenal swap deal.

The United boss responded: “He is our player, he is a Manchester United player, so I can speak about him. He is a player that I like, of high quality, who can give us a lot.

“If he stays here, he is a very good player. This season he started very well and then he came a little bit down. Last season he was an important player and helped us win the Europa League.

“Let’s see what’s going to happen. Is he going to be involved in a deal and leave us? It’s possible but it’s also possible that he stays.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan e1477763772600
Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Manchester United, during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England.

Nothing too committal one way or the other, but it certainly leaves open a swap deal as a possibility. If it weren’t even an option, you’d think that’s what Mourinho would say. I can’t see why he’d pretend it might happen if he knows it definitely wouldn’t – besides for attention.

From the sounds of things, the deal is now down to Mkhitaryan himself, and his agent Mino Raiola. Arsenal haven’t had great dealings with Raiola in the past. They sold one of the players he represents this summer – Donyell Malen to PSV. The agent also left Arsenal out when talking about all the “big clubs” Paulo Dybala could go to.

The Gunners need to convince the pair to do business with them this time around. There is one thing going in the club’s favour though. Mkhitaryan was reportedly an Arsenal fan as a child, and idolised Thierry Henry. Perhaps the club’s record goalscorer could put a good word in? We’ll see.