Jose Mourinho open to offers for Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin
Everton in frame with United boss ready to offload duo
Jose Mourinho will not stand in the way of Morgan Schneiderlin or Memphis Depay if they request a move from Manchester United after being largely frozen out of the first team.
Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, is eager to sign Schneiderlin, with whom he worked at Southampton, and Dutch compatriot Depay on loan next month, although the high wages of both could be a stumbling block.
Koeman has been particularly keen to be reunited with Schneiderlin, whom he believes could be an ideal long-term replacement in central midfield for Gareth Barry, but Everton's need to sign another winger has become more pressing since Yannick Bolasie was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee ligament injury.
Schneiderlin and Depay were both signed by Mourinho's predecessor, Louis van Gaal, from Southampton and PSV Eindhoven respectively in the summer of last year for a combined initial fee of £49m but they have become peripheral figures.
Neither has started a Premier League game this season and are reluctantly coming to accept that their careers may be best served by a move, something Mourinho says he would not oppose. West Brom are also interested in Schneiderlin, while Roma and Napoli have been linked with Depay.
Asked about the prospect of Schneiderlin and Depay departing, the United manager - whose side face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park this evening - said: "I am always open to listen to offers for every player. More than listen to offers, I am always ready to listen to the players themselves. So, any player who knocks on my door and is not happy and wants to move, when the offers are correct, I will never stop from leaving, even if it is to a rival.
"When [Juan] Mata left Chelsea to come to Manchester United [in 2014], in my mentality, [it's] no problem at all. I am always open."
Mourinho sidestepped the question when asked if any players had already asked him to be let go and claimed he would not force anyone out in mid-season.
"Sometimes in matches - and matches is the place where the evaluation is real - you get disappointed with a performance," he said.
"But in training, the professionalism and the way they do it, I can only say good things about everyone.
"I am happy with the squad I have. I would like my squad to be my squad until the end of the season and I am not going to any player to say, 'You are going to leave' because I am not happy, because I don't want to have him."
The reality is somewhat different. After acquiring his four principal signings last summer, Mourinho was told by United's hierarchy he would have to sell before he could buy again and the manager wants to offload players to make way for more new arrivals.
Some players who were expected to be jettisoned next year have enjoyed a dramatic renaissance in recent weeks, notably defenders Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian, and the manager has also reiterated that Bastian Schweinsteiger could stay until the end of the season, despite interest from Major League Soccer clubs. Henrikh Mkhitaryan has also made a major impact in recent weeks after being overlooked earlier in the season although the Armenian misses tonight's game despite his ankle injury not being as serious as first feared.
Yet one player still facing a serious battle to win Mourinho's trust is Luke Shaw, the England left-back, who has received criticism from his manager since returning in July from a double leg fracture. Asked if Shaw - whose mental strength has been questioned - was still sidelined with a groin injury, Mourinho replied rather unconvincingly by saying, "I think so".
"Not fit. He needs to improve," he added. "That is normal, he is a kid. I am not expecting a young player to be perfect. A young player makes mistakes, a young player has things to learn, has things to develop. He needs to do that. How many matches has he already played for me? A lot. He was injured playing, not on the bench. I need him back."
Eric Bailly is one defender who has recently returned from injury but Mourinho admits he faces a battle to dislodge Jones and Rojo from the team.
"I like my defenders to defend, defending is their first job," he said. "But I like my players to play from the back when that is possible, and we are doing that.
"We are projecting the full-backs a lot. We are building from the back but obviously without having exaggerated risks, especially for two players who are in the period of getting their confidence, their stability, so, yes, it is even more important for players likes Jones and Rojo to play simple and to do their job well." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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