Jose Mourinho has insisted Alexis Sanchez’s decision to sign for Manchester United over Manchester City was not motivated by money.
United and City went head-to-head for the Chilean this month with the forward moving to Old Trafford and Henrikh Mkhitaryan signing for Arsenal in return.
It was reported that City pulled out of the race after refusing to meet Arsenal’s asking price and Sanchez’s wage demands. Mourinho, however, has dismissed the claims.
He told a news conference on Thursday: “I know that if other clubs did not get him it’s not a problem of money, for sure.
“That’s not a problem of money. You go and analyse the numbers and Manchester City spent more money than us, Chelsea spent more money than us, I think even Everton spent more money than us. I don’t think that’s not the problem.
“I don’t know. Alexis could go everywhere. He had lots of choices. He decided to come here and you have to ask him why.”
Sanchez sealed his move to Old Trafford on Monday and is expected to make his United debut in their FA Cup fourth-round clash with Yeovil Town at Huish Park on Friday.
Pep Guardiola said City had decided against signing the 29-year-old in a bid to be “stable with the wages,” but Mourinho suggested it may be a case of sour grapes.
He added: “I think Alexis reminds me a little bit of the history — I don’t know, it’s not a history, almost a metaphor — when you see the tree with amazing oranges at the top of the tree and cannot get there.
“You say: ‘Oh, I got the lower ones because I don’t like the ones at the top.’ You like the ones at the top.
“They are so nice, so orange, so round, so full of juice but you cannot get there so you say: ‘I don’t want to go there’ or ‘I didn’t like it, I prefer the other ones.’ It reminds me of that story.”
Sources have told ESPN FC that Arsenal were initially quoting £35 million for Sanchez in the January transfer window, despite the forward having just six months left on his contract.
In the end, United did not pay a fee after agreeing to allow Mkhitaryan to move to the Emirates.
Sanchez has signed a four-and-a-half year deal at Old Trafford worth around £350,000-a-week, according to sources, and Mourinho insists the club have got a good deal.
He said: “Honestly, I think it was fair. I cannot say that it was expensive because it wasn’t, I cannot say it was cheap because if you add all the values of his contract, it’s not also cheap.
“But I think its a very good deal for us and the player has a fantastic contract.
“It’s a contract according to his qualities as a player and according to the situation.