Manchester United have emerged strong contenders to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Arsenal looked to be the only English team interested in the services of the Armenian, until their rivals from Manchester stepped in.
Jose Mourinho’s keenness of adding fresh faces to the roster at Manchester United, has led to an ‘air of change’ at Old Traffor. After securing the services of Ivorian defensive stalwart Eric Bailly, he has now turned his attention to Borussia Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan. It was earlier reported that Arsenal were interested in signing the Armenian, but now with their rivals in the hunt for the player, a bidding war may be on the cards.
The Sun stated earlier that the German side were intent on keeping their dynamic midfielder at the club despite the fact that next season would be the final one on his contract. However, the club has been losing interest in holding on to the player ever since, and may decide to cash-in if the right offer comes by.
BVB are strongly considering selling Mkhitaryan this summer should they fail to convince the Armenian to sign contract extension. [Kicker]
— AFCPressWatch™ (@AFCPressWatch) June 5, 2016
Mkhitaryan has enjoyed a fruitful season at the Westfalenstadion and was an integral part of Thomas Tuchel’s squad in their quest for the Bundesliga. The Armenian’s versatility was put to show in the 2015/16 campaign, where he played in 8 different positions, as per WhoScored. His link-up play with Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Dortmund that extra zest going forward.
His ability to drop deep as well as play as a winger, makes him a good buy for the Premier League clubs. It is plausible that it would take the 27-year-old to sustain in more physical and competitive conditions, and given his relatively low asking price of £25 million, he must be snapped up without any further ado.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s Bundesliga season by numbers:
81 chances created
11 goals pic.twitter.com/7k4ntS5UpY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 1, 2016
Why a move to England makes sense?
Arsenal, despite finishing second have not been at their ultimate best. While, Mkhitaryan has been terrifically lethal on the right hand side – an area that has been of major concern to Arsene Wenger. In 17 appearances on the right flank, the 27-year-old has 7 goals and 8 assists to his name, thus averaging a goal or an assist every game.
Signing Mkhitaryan would be a wise move for Arsene Wenger, who is in the market looking for a creative genius who could operate from the right. Notably, Riyad Mahrez after his marvelous campaign with Leicester had also emerged as a transfer target for Arsenal. With the Armenian nearing an exit, Wenger must react quickly and complete the signing before his arch-nemesis Jose Mourinho does.
Speaking of Mourinho, his approach and style of play would undoubtedly suit Henrikh Mkhitaryan. His ability to play in a number of positions could actually allow Mourinho to give him the freedom to go out and express himself. For a team that has struggled to create chances this past season, adding a play-maker of Mkhitaryan’s calibre in the midfield, would certainly enrich the players around him.
With Anthony Martial playing on the left, Mkhitaryan would be an automatic fit on the right-hand side. In the 2015/16 season, Juan Mata was deployed as a makeshift winger but due to his short-frame and lack of pace, the Spaniard struggled to shine in that position. Also, Mourinho has criticized Mata’s tendency of failing to track-back, and given the rebuilding he plans at Old Trafford, Mata may not be a Man United player come the 31st of August.
The other option for Mourinho is Jesse Lingard. While the English youngster has shown tremendous potential, his lack of form makes him a questionable choice as a winger. He could probably be used as an understudy to Mkhitaryan if the gaffer chooses to bring him to the Theatre of Dreams.
However hypothetical, a move to England would benefit both the player as well as the club he’s moving to.