Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP)
Jose Mourinho has told midfielders Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay they will not be considered for selection while they wait to leave Manchester United during the January transfer window.
West Brom and Everton have both had bids of under £20 million ($24.7 million, 23.4 million euros) rejected for France international Schneiderlin as United look to recoup most of the £25 million former manager Louis van Gaal paid Southampton for him 18 months ago.
And Depay remains a target, for Everton and European clubs including Roma and Nice, although the only interest in the Dutch winger is for loan deals at present.
The fact that Mourinho will only let the pair leave if United receive acceptable offers leaves the duo in limbo because, while United face a massive fixture list in the short-term that includes interest in four competitions, the United manager will not consider them.
"Their situation is exactly the same, both of them I will allow them to leave the club," said Mourinho. "I will allow them to leave if the right offer comes. Until this moment, no.
"Is this a good situation? No. Why not? Because I don't think about them as options in this moment.
"In normal conditions they would probably be selected for the match tomorrow and they aren't because we are waiting for something that a couple of weeks ago looked like 100 per cent and at the moment looks like zero per cent because we don't have any offer that is close to the quality for the players we have."
- Schweinsteiger 'an option' -
However, the situation is vastly different for another midfield player who once seemed certain to leave the club in the current window, German international Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The veteran appeared to be in the same situation as Schneiderlin and Depay but made a four-minute substitute appearance in the League Cup tie against West Ham at the end of November and is now in Mourinho's plans as he wrestles with fixture congestion.
"He's selected again so he can start, he can be on the bench," said Mourinho. "He's an option for us, I think that's the best way to describe it.
"For many months he wasn't an option, when we brought him back in the first couple of weeks he was not an option, not ready to compete but since then he’s been working very well, never an injury.
"Again, my approach because I think it's the right one from the human point of view, if a player is not playing I cannot stop a player to leave if the offer is right.
"Bastian, he played with us some minutes against West Ham, no more. He wants to stay, he is staying, he is an option because he's an option he's selected for tomorrow.
"He was selected for three, four matches, he's waiting for his opportunity to play and I think January is a good month for that with so many matches."
- De Gea praised -
Mourinho has paid tribute to goalkeeper David de Gea but admits that, after the Spaniard was named the club’s player of the year in each of the past three seasons, he is relieved that the team’s improved fortunes means he is not in contention for that honour again.
"I think when a goalkeeper is a player of the season, it's because something is wrong," said Mourinho.
"Of course I would love goalkeepers to be recognised, to win the golden ball, to be player of the season in the Premier League because goalkeepers are lonely guys with a different shirt to everybody else.
"When they play phenomenal people forget, when they make a mistake, everyone remembers.
"That’s why I hugged David at the end of the West Ham game because no save, (and a Michail) Antonio goal, no three points.
"Season after season the goalkeeper is player of the season, it means that something is wrong. Hopefully he's not player of the season this season but hopefully he keeps making important saves for us like he did in last week."
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
© 2017 AFP