Manchester United beat Arsenal to the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan in 2016 but what would life have been like for him and the Gunners if he had made a different choice?
The Armenian midfielder had his chance to join Arsenal in the summer of 2016, but various circumstances resulted in him joining Manchester United instead.
According to a report from the Daily Mail back then, Mkhitaryan thought that Arsenal didn’t need him as much as United did. It just so happened that United offered more money to Borussia Dortmund than we did as well.
You have to wonder, though, if he regrets the move.
A self-confessed Arsenal fan who grew up idolising Thierry Henry, Mkhitaryan would have been an excellent fit for Arsenal.
He may not have played in his preferred position as the number ten, but would have formed a potent trio with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. He would have almost certainly played every week.
That alone would have been an improvement on his time at United.
Mkhitaryan had a slow start to his United career but seemed to grow in confidence as the season went on.
He has started this season very well, and already has five assists in 12 games.
However, his confidence appears to be waning after several comments from his manager, Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho recently criticised his performances in public, claiming they had been getting worse “step by step”.
It’s not the first time he’s this, either. On the eve of Manchester United’s game against Arsenal at Old Trafford last season, Mourinho said Mkhitaryan wouldn’t have suited the game.
The Armenian has always been a confidence player. Even at Dortmund when his reputation was growing, he had a slow start and was prone to inconsistency.
We’ll never know if he would have been any different at Arsenal, but one thing is for certain: Wenger would have treated him a lot better than Mourinho.
Wenger tends not to criticise his players in public. Rather, he tries to protect them whenever he can.
He may have been just the sort of manager Mkhitaryan needed to produce consistent displays and show off the immense talent that he has.
Rather than dropping him from the first team squad entirely, he would be competing for a spot with Ozil and Alexis. With those two set to leave, he could have ended up the next star of the team.
It wasn’t meant to be, but I’m convinced Mkhitaryan would have had a better time in an Arsenal shirt.