Arsenal and Liverpool are monitoring Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling, according to reports.
The Manchester United duo have garnered the wrath of Jose Mourinho for declaring themselves unavailable for the clash against Swansea City last week – which United won 3-1 – due to complaints of pain.
Mourinho publicly criticised Shaw and Smalling in a press conference after the game, and it is understood that the players’ camps have not been pleased by the United boss’ outburst.
Mourinho was quoted as saying: “I have a friend who is a big tennis player and he tells me when he remembered more the times he plays with pain than the times he plays without pain.
“To compete you have to go to the limit. It is cultural for some – and that is not my culture. More than me, it is Man United.
“We have players with ‘problems’. At every sport – and I know because I have friends in others sports and they play at the highest level in their sport, and how many times they play when you are not 100 per cent.”
Mourinho will have been left red-faced to find out that Smalling’s ‘pain’ was a lot more serious than first expected.
According to claims in the Daily Mail, extensive scans revealed that the England defender had in fact broken his toe in two places, and played in the humiliating defeat against Chelsea only after taking pain killing injections under Mourinho’s strict instructions.
The injury could keep Smalling out for up to seven weeks, but it is assumed that he will most likely recover in a shorter period of around four weeks. However, it still leaves Mourinho without his two first-choice centre-backs, with Eric Bailly already facing around a month on sidelines due to knee ligament damage.
Shaw has been criticised by Mourinho on several occasions this season, including the aftermath of the humbling 3-1 defeat to Watford, and it is believed that the Portuguese boss is not fully convinced by the youngster.
The English duo’s situations at Old Trafford are said to have alerted Arsenal and Liverpool.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been a well-known admirer of Chris Smalling since 2010, when United pipped the Gunners to his signature.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are looking at Shaw whilst being desperate for a new full-back. Alberto Moreno is currently being seen as a liability. James Milner, who is at present, occupying the left-back position and has impressed, but the Reds would still prefer to have a player who is a natural left-sided full-back and has experience in the position.