Liverpool and Arsenal wait on Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw after fallout with Jose Mourinho

United's Premier League rivals have been alerted by Mourinho's recent row with the pair and could make a move if current tension doesn't clear

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Arsenal and Liverpool could make a move for Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw following their recent spat with Jose Mourinho.

The England pair were publicly criticised by the United boss after their refusal to play in the club’s 3-1 win over Swansea at the Liberty Stadium last Sunday.

Mourinho slammed Smalling and Shaw for their reluctance to play through the pain barrier and questioned their attitude, leading to intense speculation over the international period linking both players with moves away from Old Trafford.

Smalling was reportedly ruled out for a month with a broken toe only a week after the Swansea game but United have denied these claims despite admitting the defender took painkilling injections before their fixture against Chelsea a fortnight earlier. Shaw, on the other hand, is still returning to full fitness after his horrific double leg break last season.

Both players were not picked by England interim manager Gareth Southgate for games against Scotland and Spain this week as a result.

The defensive duo are also apparently unhappy with the way in which the 53-year-old publicly attacked them and the relationship between both parties remains precarious.

The Mirror understands that this could leave the door open for United’s Premier League rivals, Arsenal and Liverpool, to swoop in for the England internationals in the upcoming transfer window.

Arsene Wenger was interested in signing Smalling before he joined United in 2011 but was beaten to the punch by his old advisory, Sir Alex Ferguson.

Liverpool, however, are interested in bringing in a specialist left-back to ease the burden on the versatile James Milner who has filled in there for Jurgen Klopp for most of this season.

But, even if Mourinho is looking to offload Shaw, the chances of him going to Anfield are slim given the history between the two clubs.

Mourinho has also been linked with Roma’s Antonio Rudiger and Burnley’s Michael Keane as potential additions to United’s defensive ranks.

Keane, who left Old Trafford in 2011, has been superb for Burnley in the Premier League this season and has apparently caught the eye of Mourinho.

The towering centre-back would become the second former United player to sign for the club under Mourinho following the world record deal for Paul Pogba this summer.

If Mourinho did sign another defender, he may also be more inclined to let Smalling and Shaw leave the club.