When Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived at Manchester United in 2016, much was quite rightly made of the numbers.
Not the £30million transfer fee, but the 23 goals and 32 assists he had amassed for Borussia Dortmund the previous season. They were staggering statistics.
United, we declared, had landed the playmaker who would transform their fortunes amid the continued toil of the post-Ferguson era.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived from Borussia Dortmund after the best season of his career
Now he has moved from Arsenal on a season-long loan deal to Roma in Serie A
The outlay was modest if Mkhitaryan could replicate those numbers in the Premier League. Indeed, there was barely a fantasy football manager in the land who did not have the Armenian in their team.
Three years on and no-one, it seems, wants Mkhitaryan in their XI anymore. Jose Mourinho at United certainly did not, Arsene Wenger was keen but never convinced, while Unai Emery is now happy to get rid having afforded him just four minutes of action this season.
His move to Arsenal in January of last year was supposed to represent a fresh start with the player finally free of Mourinho’s mistrust.
Alexis Sanchez headed in the opposite direction and both clubs, we believed, had done well out of the deal.
Mkhitaryan gave a thumbs up as he completed his Roma medical on Monday afternoon
Jose Mourinho was one of the managers who did not trust the Armenian with a first team role
Now, however, the pair will be lining up against one another in Serie A, Sanchez having joined Inter last week with Mkhitaryan on the verge of a loan move to Roma.
It is an inglorious departure from the Premier League for both players, but at least Sanchez leaves with memories of a golden spell at Arsenal when he was among the best players in the county.
The same cannot be said of Mkhitaryan. What a disappointment he has been, in the red of both United and Arsenal.
Unai Emery considers Mkhitaryan surplus to requirements at Arsenal this season
MKHITARYAN’S PREMIER LEAGUE STATS:
Substitute appearances: 33
Now 30, his best years are behind him and, in truth, they appear to have been consigned to the past from the moment he left the Bundesliga.
In three seasons, in all competitions, there have been 22 goals and 24 assists. Not a bad return, but still shy of what he achieved in his final campaign alone at Dortmund.
But beyond that the eye does not lie and Mkhitaryan has never looked suited to the Premier League.
He was even forced to defend his dietary habits after an unflattering picture emerged of him modelling United’s new kit in 2017, complete with a pot belly.
And, while that may have been an unfortunate angle, from every other vantage he has failed impress, especially given the hype with which he arrived.
Fans had claimed Mkhitaryan appeared on the larger side as he modelled United’s new kit
Mkhitaryan’s best years appear to be behind him but he will look to revive his career in Rome
Mkhitaryan, we thought, was a dribbler, a player of cunning with a wicked shot. We have seen precious little of any that. Away from home in particular he has gone missing and, on reflection, his move to Arsenal was entirely predictable given their penchant for diminutive No 10s for whom the only thing consistent is their inconsistency.
Mkhitaryan, like Mesut Ozil, fits the bill in that regard. Ozil, though, remains, in large part due to Arsenal being unable to shift his £350,000-per-week salary. Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, is said to be earning £200,000 per week and Roma, somewhat surprisingly, will cover that cost during his loan stay.
To that end, the numbers make sense for Arsenal, only this time we’re not talking about goals and assists.
Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7419387/Arsenal-news-Henrikh-Mkhitaryan-faces-leaving-Premier-League-Roma-footnote-awful-swap.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490