Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho took steps to ensure his friendship with Hans-Joachim Watzke was not damaged by Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s protracted move to Old Trafford, the Borussia Dortmund CEO has said.
Mkhitaryan moved to United from Dortmund for a reported initial fee of £26.3 million after lengthy discussions between the German club and the player’s agent, Mino Raiola.
Raiola accused Dortmund of “very bad management” when it appeared the club would try to keep Mkhitaryan for the final year of his contract, and claimed at one stage that “it would be a sin” if the transfer fell through.
The deal was eventually done despite Dortmund’s apparent reluctance to sell, but Watzke insisted the loss of one of his club’s most talented players had left no bad blood between him and his close friend Mourinho.
Watzke told Sport Bild that Mourinho contacted him in the aftermath of the deal being done, saying: “Of course we talked about the transfer. He said to me: ‘In the end you decide and, however this pans out, the most important thing is that our friendship doesn’t suffer because of that. There are more good players than good friendships.’ And he is absolutely spot on.
“We’ve been friends for many years and have always kept in touch.”