MANCHESTER — Jose Mourinho has left the door open for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to leave Manchester United this month but insists the midfielder is still part of his plans at Old Trafford.
Mkhitaryan has started just two of United’s last 15 games and struggled to make the bench for most of November and December.
He last 45 minutes in the 2-0 win over Derby in the FA Cup, although Mourinho said the decision to substitute him at half-time had been “unfair.”
The 28-year-old, a £30 million signing from Borussia Dortmund 18 months ago, has been linked with Inter Milan as well as a move to Arsenal as a makeweight in any deal to bring Alexis Sanchez to United.
Mourinho insists every player in his squad, including Mkhitaryan, has his price. But he confirmed the Armenian will be in the squad to face Stoke at Old Trafford on Monday.
Mourinho told the Sunday newspapers: “My approach to players is that every player has a price, doesn’t matter who he is, doesn’t matter the level, doesn’t matter the prestige, the status, I think every player has a price.
“I’m not the kind of blind manager, blind in the sense of this player is untouchable, this player we can never sell, I think every player has a price.
“So when the transfer window is open is also open for any club that is interested in our players. Then it is up to us to make the decision yes or no, is up to us to decide what we think is the right price.
“But Mkhitaryan, he played the last match against Derby and probably will play the next one.
“He is our player, he is a very good player, so he trains, he is selected and Monday he plays.”
United have been heavily linked with a move for Sanchez — both with an without Mkhitaryan as part of the deal — with sources telling ESPN FC the club will monitor the Chilean’s situation this month.
Sanchez has been linked with a move to Manchester City, who have so far refused to meet Arsenal’s £35 million asking price for a player who will be available for free in the summer.
Mourinho admits the January market is not usually the right time to buy. But he revealed — without naming Sanchez specifically — that United would be ready to take advantage of a “fantastic opportunity” should one arise.
He said: “Our squad was built not to have new players in January, we build a squad with this idea, with this philosophy that I share with Mr Woodward and the owners, normally the investment is to be made in the summer.
“But sometimes can happen or can appear on the table, a fantastic opportunity and then you fight for that fantastic opportunity.
“If it happens, happens, if it doesn’t happen then it doesn’t happen but I like my squad, I like my players, the more time I spend with them this week was also good to be sure of that.
“We like out squad, we believe in our squad, it is just about improving our squad in a balanced way, so if we do something now, it has to be something we believe is the right thing to do for the team, and is something that will stop us to do in the summer.
“If we do something now we don’t need to do in the summer again.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.