Henrikh Mkhitaryan says it’s a dream to play for the club he supports alongside one of his ‘best friends’ in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Mkhitaryan admitted things didn’t go as well as he hoped at Manchester United, but says he has nothing to prove.
He just wants to move onto the next chapter in his footballing life with Arsenal.
“I don’t want to find excuses,” he told the Evening Standard.
“I don’t want to blame anyone but I am happy that this [half of the] season passed already. I am starting a new chapter in my life, in my football career and I am very happy to be here.
“I’ll be pleased to achieve more than I have done in Manchester, of course. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I just have to enjoy myself, do my best and at the end I will see where I can reach.”
The “dream” of playing for Arsenal
Despite the disappointment of not achieving more at United, the Armenian is clearly happy with where he ended up. Arsenal fans dug up an interview from 2009 where Mkhitaryan said he supports the Gunners.
The playmaker says that wasn’t even the first time he spoke about how he felt.
“I have said that even earlier, not only in that interview,” the 29-year-old insisted. “Why? Because I loved the way that Arsenal were playing at the time, I loved the way Arsene Wenger was treating his players, I loved the way that everything was happening around the club.”
“So, it was just a dream, it was a drive to say ‘why not? I’m supporting Arsenal and I want to play for that club as well’.”
After completing that ‘dream’ move to North London, former teammate Aubameyang followed. The striker revealed that he spoke to Arsenal’s number seven before finalising his transfer.
Mkhitaryan wasn’t so keen to talk about their conversation, out of respect for the clubs involved. However, he did admit that they talked:
“I won’t mention all the details because it is not fair but yes, when I signed for Arsenal, I was in touch with him saying ‘so, the first step is done, now we are waiting for the second one’.
“It could only be in a dream that we could join another club other than Dortmund but I am very happy for that. I’ve known him very well, he is one of my best friends and the best team-mate I have ever had.
“I am very happy to have him here and I think all the fans are happy to see him in an Arsenal shirt. What can I say? I love playing with him. I can understand him from step one and hopefully for the next games we are going to achieve more.”
To call the striker his best team-mate ever is high praise from Mkhitaryan. Bear in mind this is a player who lined up alongside international superstars with Dortmund and Manchester United.
North London derby
The pair will have to live up to their reputations in the next game, as Arsenal face Spurs. Mkhitaryan says he’s read and heard all about the derby since joining the Premier League, so he knows what to expect on Saturday.
“I have read a lot about the derby, about playing against Tottenham,” he said. “It is not the first time I have seen or heard that because I have been in the Premier League for quite a long time so I know the importance of the game.
“I know the importance of the derby and I am ready for it.”
Let’s hope he is, because it promises to be a massive game for the Gunners.