Manchester United were put off signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan under Louis van Gaal due to concerns over his adaptability to the Premier League.
According to The Independent, Van Gaal and his coaching staff had reservations about the former Borussia Dortmund playmaker’s suitability, fearing a repeat of Shinji Kagawa’s difficulties at Old Trafford.
Mkhitaryan has struggled to adapt since moving in the summer, and was left out of the recent squads that faced Fenerbahce and Chelsea.
Mourinho is yet to explain his reluctance to hand the 27-year-old a chance to redeem himself following his poor performance against City, when his failure to close down defender Aleksandar Kolarov was cited as a key factor in Kevin De Bruyne’s opening goal for the visitors.
Despite impressing for Dortmund during the German club’s dramatic Europa League defeat against Liverpool at Anfield in April, key figures within the United coaching team under Van Gaal were wary of pursuing a move for Mkhitaryan.
Although Shinji Kagawa made a bright start at United after arriving from Dortmund in the summer of 2012, the Japanese midfielder struggled to sustain his early performances and found the physical demands of English football too great before being sold back to the German outfit two years later.
And Kagawa’s struggles led to fears that Mkhitaryan would suffer the same problems due to the perception that players signed from the Bundesliga are ill-equipped for the Premier League.
With players afforded more time and space in the more technical German league, those arriving from the Bundesliga are often taken aback by the greater physicality in England and requirement to tackle and win personal duels with an opposite number.