Ahead of Manchester United’s game against Arsenal on Saturday, Jose Mourinho was asked whether he was surprised that Mesut Ozil has been allowed to run down his contract to the final year, meaning he can leave for free next summer.

Mourinho claims he’s not surprised as this is the right of footballers but points out they are playing a risky game by doing so.

That’s football. They finish their contract, Fellaini finishes his contract, there are other important players in Europe in other teams that finish their contract. Sometimes players decide to go in this direction, which is the right that they have. They gamble. Imagine if one of these players has a big injury. But players have the right to do that. I don’t blame the clubs because they try but the players have the right to move in to this situation. Many times it’s good for them because sometimes they go on a free transfer and they can get huge salaries.

I’m not speaking about Alexis or Ozil, I’m speaking about the general situation. Even us managers, some of us prefer to let the contract go until the last year and in the last year we make the decision to stay or leave. It’s a risk for everyone but sometimes the risk works. That’s football. The important thing is that the players remain professional and focussed in the clubs where they are, and give everything to the clubs until the last day.

Mourinho was then asked if Ozil became available for free in the summer would he be interested in signing him? “No comment.”