Tuesday 20 February 2018

'Both of them I will allow to leave the club': Jose Mourinho confirms duo will depart - but haven't yet been sold

Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin
Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin

Liam Blackburn

Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay look to have played their final games for Manchester United - but manager Jose Mourinho revealed neither player is close to sealing his departure.

Neither midfielder Schneiderlin nor winger Depay will be considered against Reading in the FA Cup on Saturday because Mourinho is operating under the assumption that both will be exiting Old Trafford this month.

Read more: Jaap Stam: How Alex Ferguson ended my Manchester United career in a petrol station

However, despite a suggestion Schneiderlin is on the verge of joining Everton, it is understood the deal is not as imminent as claimed and Mourinho confirmed United are yet to receive a satisfactory offer for either the France international or Dutchman Depay.

"Their situation is exactly the same, both of them I will allow to leave the club," Mourinho said.

"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."

Schneiderlin is also a target for West Brom, among other suitors, but the fact nearby Everton are managed by his former Southampton boss Ronald Koeman could sway his decision, presuming the Toffees can meet United's valuation.

Depay is also of interest to Koeman, as well as clubs abroad, but United want to agree a permanent switch rather than letting him leave on loan.

Two players who will feature against the Royals, managed by former United defender Jaap Stam, are goalkeeper Sergio Romero and striker Wayne Rooney.

The latter is one away from equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time record of 249 United goals and has had to wait for his chance to reach that figure having missed the past three games with a thigh strain.

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Mourinho has no other injury concerns and will also include Bastian Schweinsteiger in his squad.

The 32-year-old World Cup winner had been ostracised at the start of the season but was welcomed back into the fold by Mourinho and made a four-minute cameo in the EFL Cup against West Ham in November.

With his desire to remain at Old Trafford evident to Mourinho, Schweinsteiger may not necessarily end up following Schneiderlin and Depay out of the door.

"Again, my approach, because I think it's the right one from the human point of view, is if a player is not playing I cannot stop a player to leave if the offer is right," Mourinho said.

"Bastian, he played with us some minutes against West Ham. But he wants to stay, he is staying, he is an option, and because he's an option 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.

"He's selected (in the squad against Reading) again so he can start, he can be on the bench. He's an option for us, I think that's the best way to describe it, for many months he wasn't an option."

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United entertain Championship side Reading having won seven straight games in all competitions and appear to have turned a corner after a poor couple of seasons in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

That is highlighted by the fact goalkeeper De Gea has won three successive player of the year awards with the club, a run a well-intentioned Mourinho hopes comes to an end this time around.

"I think when a goalkeeper is player of the season it's because something is wrong," the United boss said.

"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.

"Season after season if 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 last week against West Ham."

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