Henrikh Mkhitaryan was quite a household name in his days at Shakhtar Donetsk but he came under the spotlight when he moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2013, scoring 41 goals and creating 38 assists in three seasons with the club. In the summer of 2016, Mkhitaryan had only one year left on his Dortmund deal and the club was in a position where they had to lose him on a free transfer the following year or cash in on their starlet with several clubs in Europe showing interest in signing him, which included Arsenal, according to the Guardian.
Arsenal missed out on Mkhitaryan as he grabbed his bags and moved to Manchester United, so the club signed a certain Granit Xhaka instead. The start to Mkhitaryan’s life at Manchester United was very enjoyable, as he amassed the treble of the Community Shield, EFL Cup and the Europa League. With 11 goals in his debut season with the club (where he was the club’s scorer in the Europa League with six goals), Mkhitaryan had a stellar campaign, finishing level on goals with Marcus Rashford – that played more games but some way off behind the top scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (28).
Football neutrals must have thought that Mkhitaryan had found a place to call home in Old Trafford, but his second season with the club was hellish to say the least, as he lost his place in the starting lineup and struggled for both form and fitness. After just one and a half seasons in Old Trafford. Mkhitaryan left Manchester United and joined Arsenal in one of the most puzzling deals in world football. I’d call it puzzling because both clubs had every right to be aggrieved with what they got. Alexis Sanchez, who used to tear defenses apart in previous seasons, turned out to be a terrible signing for the Red Devils with a huge pay check, while Mkhitaryan was clearly a shadow of the player we used to know.
Sure, there were some flashes of his quality in a handful of games at the Emirates but Arsenal fans and neutrals alike were in the strong opinion that he was an underwhelming and inconsistent player. The arrival of club record signing, Nicolas Pepe, clearly signified that the Gunners wanted some much needed quality in that position and with the Gunners selling Alex Iwobi to Everton, we had assumed that Mkhitaryan would be Pepe’s backup.
However, it wasn’t that surprising to see that he was deemed surplus to requirements when he was shipped to AS Roma on loan in the English transfer deadline day. This meant that Unai Emery was prepared to give shots to youngsters like Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe, rather than latch onto Mkhitaryan’s experience.
Shortly after his move to Italy, Mkhitaryan also confessed about how he didn’t really fancy life in the Premier League,
“I think maybe I was not fitting so well in English football, so I think a change was good. I’ve heard from many, many players that the Italian League is great, the football is great.
“The last month at Arsenal I was not getting pleasure, so that’s why I said it was better to come to Roma and to get happy and to get the pleasure from playing football again.”
He hasn’t really lit up any fireworks in AS Roma but in the nine games he has managed to feature for them, he has scored three goals. Those connected with Arsenal were hopeful that he’d do enough to at the very least get retained with the Italian outfit, especially with the fact that he’s on a fat £200,000 per week contract, so we were all pleased to see that they wanted to sign him on a permanent basis…
Then we saw the bid – a paltry €10 million, that was swiftly rejected by the Gunners.
Yes, we have a new boss at the helm, Mikel Arteta, and we don’t know what his plans for Mkhitaryan are at the moment. Maybe they may have some sort of meeting at the end of the season where Mikel Arteta tells him that he’s gonna use him in the next campaign or get rid of him for good. But by all standards, €10 million is too cheap for a player of Mkhitaryan’s talents and ability, even though it seems like its on the decline.
Hopefully, AS Roma might come with an improved bid in the future, so we will just have to monitor the situation closely.
Anthony Okike – Gooner Daily’s blogger.