Manchester United coach José Mourinho has revealed how close new signing Alexis Sánchez was to completing his move to Manchester City, stating that the Chilean had "one-and-a-half feet" in The Etihad Stadium ahead of his probable United debut on Friday night against Yeovil Town.
Total credit goes to to the owners and the board
The 29-year-old had been a long-term target for the blue side of Manchester with Sánchez reportedly keen to reunite with former coach Pep Guardiola, and with his contract running out in the summer the January transfer window seemed the right time for The Citizens to strike.
However, Mourinho shocked many by swooping in the last moment for the Chilean. City eventually dropped out of the race and United were free to complete the swap deal at the beginning of the week with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving the opposite direction.
United's new no 7 is set to make his debut Friday night when they visit Huish Park in the fourth round of The FA Cup and ahead of the clash, Mourinho revealed just how close Sánchez was to wearing the sky blue of City.
"I want to make it clear it was not me," Mourinho told MUTV ahead of the Yeovil clash. "Totally the credit is for the owners and the board. They did it - a player like Alexis Sanchez."
"It looks like it is difficult for people to say, 'Well done, you did it in a fantastic way'," the coach confirmed. "He was with one-and-a-half feet in another club."
"It looks like it is hard to give credit when we win matches there is always an 'If'. When a player does fantastically well there is always a negative," Mourinho added. "But the reality is without Manchester United the industry would be in trouble, this is part of being at such a big club."
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Really happy to sign and focus on the club
Friday's clash is set to be a very special one for 'The Special One' as he is set to take charge of his 100th United game on his 55th birthday and if that wasn't enough, it comes off the back of extending his stay in the North West.
Mourinho has already had quite the successful reign at Old Trafford, having won three trophies in his first season including the club's first Europa League title, his new contract will keep him at the club until at least 2020 with the option of a further year and he is "really happy" to sign on the dotted line.
"We believe in each other, we are happy with each other," he said on his new contract. "I think I am doing the things that the owners and the board feel are the right things to do for the future of the football club."
"They are showing me their ambition," the Portuguese national proclaimed. "Their commitment and their desire to go in the right direction."
"On top of that, my relationship with the players is really good," Mourinho concluded. "So I’m really happy to sign the contract and to focus on the club I’m really happy to work at."