Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan has left Arsenal to join AS Roma on a season-long loan deal, with the Italian club reportedly having an option to buy.
European clubs have had a busy end to the transfer window, especially clubs from the Serie A. AS Roma, in particular, have looked to seal some deals in the last few days to strengthen their squad and have landed another Premier League player. Arsenal have confirmed the departure of attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan on a loan deal for the rest of the season.
The Armenian joined Arsenal 18 months ago in a straight swap deal from Manchester United, with Alexis Sanchez moving in the opposite direction. For Mkhitaryan, the short Arsenal spell has been a roller coaster, and Unai Emery was reportedly ready to offload Mkhitaryan before the English deadline, although nothing materialised, until the interest from AS Roma surfaced.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 2, 2019
The Gunners had long decided to offload the Armenian, but his £200,000-a-week wages proved difficult for any club to match, as Arsenal also sought a transfer fee for the player. The North Londoners had resigned themselves to keeping Mkhitaryan at least till January.
It is believed that in anticipation of Mkhitaryan staying put, the Gunners agreed to sell Alex Iwobi to Everton on the English deadline day last month. Mkhitaryan went on to start the first game of the season, a win over Newcastle United and has since come in for intense criticism.
He did come on as a substitute against Tottenham on Sunday, and there too he underperformed. Mkhitaryan featured 59 times for Arsenal, scoring 9 goals and laying 13 assists during this period. The Armenian marked his Arsenal debut in style, providing a hat-trick of assists in a 5-1 mauling of Everton at the Emirates.
Following a strong start though, he had an inconsistent Arsenal tenure, even though he was primed to become a key player for the Gunners last season. He did outperform Alexis Sanchez in terms of stats since the transfer, and the Chilean, like Mkhitaryan, has also made his way to the Serie A, joining Inter Milan.
Mkhitaryan is the third experienced player to leave Arsenal in the last few days. Before him, Arsenal sold Nacho Monreal, who joined Real Sociedad, while Mohamed Elneny moved to Besiktas. Arsenal were also looking to sell defender Shkodran Mustafi, but the centre-back is set to remain at the club until at least January.
As for Mkhitaryan, he might hope to find his rhythm again in Rome and come close to becoming the player he once was. Roma too might have got a good player and at 30, he might be able to offer plenty even it is only for one year. Arsenal would be happy with this transfer after getting his wages off their books, and this move could also pave the way for more chances for their youngsters.