LONDON – Jose Mourinho has accused Manchester City of sour grapes over their failed pursuit of Alexis Sanchez, saying his transfer to Manchester United was not all about money.
City attempted to sign Sanchez in the last transfer window and were expected to move again this month when it became clear the 29-year-old wanted to leave Arsenal before his contract expired in the summer.
However, City pulled out of the race upon hearing of the Gunners' reported £35 million ($50 million, 40 million euros) price tag and Sanchez's wage demands, paving the way for United to clinch a straight swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan join the Gunners.
"I didn't listen to anyone moaning about (the cost)," said Mourinho, who has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Old Trafford until at least 2020.
"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 a tree with amazing oranges in the top of the tree and then you 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, I prefer the other ones.' I think it reminds me a little bit of that story."
The Chile international, who is in the United squad to face fourth-tier Yeovil Town in the FA Cup fourth round on Friday, had been called "the biggest mercenary in football" by ex-Gunners defender Martin Keown.
Reports said he could end up earning close to £500,000 per week in total, but Mourinho dismissed the notion his decision to join United was purely a case of money talking.
"I know that if other clubs did not get him it's not a problem of money, for sure," he added.
"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 the problem.
"When people speak about salaries, first of all I have many doubts. I am sure the numbers that are written are not exactly the numbers. Secondly, you have to put things in perspective.
"How much would Alexis Sanchez cost on a normal transfer, from club to club, as a player with two or three years of contract? We look to the numbers now and I would say roughly between £100-150 million.
"So you put things into perspective – you go to the numbers that the club didn't pay on the transfer. You go to the numbers that the club pays in salaries, which are obviously higher than others, but you put things into perspective."