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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has explained the reason behind the exclusion of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from the matchday squad which faced Stoke the other night, by admitting that his future is in extreme doubts.

Manchester United continued their fine run of form with a 3-0 win over Stoke last night and the win completely overshadowed the fact that Henrikh Mkhitaryan was not included in the matchday squad for the fixture. This came in the midst of heavy speculation regarding his potential exit from the club.

Reports claim that Manchester United and Arsenal are working on a potential swap which would see Alexis Sanchez coming in at Old Trafford and the Armenian travel the other way.

Speaking ahead of the game against Stoke, Mourinho said that the Armenian was set to play the game. However, he was not only excluded from the starting XI but was also not a part of the substitutes. When asked about the same before the kick-off Mourinho, admitted that ‘it is not easy for a player to play when his future in his doubt.’

“I would be lying if I say it’s a pure tactical decision. It was just a choice of the players that we know, in this moment, they have 100% their heads in Manchester United,” Mourinho was quoted by IBTimes.

“No doubts about the future. I don’t think it’s easy for a player to play when there are doubts about his future. It is added pressure that a player doesn’t need, so I think it’s the best for him and for us, while the doubt is in the air, to protect him.”

While some might say his exclusion from the matchday squad is now a regular occurrence given his inconsistent form, one cannot overlook the fact of the aforementioned deal being followed. Manchester United are reportedly the clear favourites to land Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal given that the Chilean’s long-term admirers Manchester City have pulled themselves out of the deal.

As things stand right now, reports are rife that Manchester United are willing to match Arsenal’s evaluation of £35m for the Chilean, while as far as his salary is concerned, they are also willing to match his £350,000-a-week wage pack.

What do you think lies in store for us next?