Henrikh Mkhitaryan says it’s a dream to come and play for a team like Arsenal, and have the chance to express himself in an offensive setup.
Mkhitaryan says Arsene Wenger’s footballing philosophy was part of what convinced him to join the club. Jose Mourinho used the Armenian in a deeper role at Manchester United, adding a lot of defensive responsibility. You get the sense the 29-year-old feels the shackles are off now.
“Of course it’s very important to have respect from your manager,” he told Arsenal.com. “I know that he’s demanding and he likes his players to explore. He was one of the [reasons] to join Arsenal as well because everyone knows he’s a great manager.
“I’ve known him for a long time and of course it was not very difficult to make this decision to come to Arsenal. I think the way that Arsenal play [make] it a dream for every player to come here and play offensive football.”
It’s a big positive when a player joins your club ready and willing to play in your style. For all the good things Alexis Sanchez did for Arsenal, it became increasingly clear he didn’t fit the philosophy. As a top class player, he succeeded nonetheless, but many felt that was at the expense of the team.
Hopefully, Mkhitaryan on top of his game only adds to the team’s effectiveness. Alongside Mesut Özil, the Armenian should be able to express himself in possession and in getting on the end of chances. If they can both link up well with Alexandre Lacazette as well, they could form a dangerous trio.
Tuesday’s match against Swansea City could be the first opportunity for them to prove that. The Gunners need a win to keep their title hopes alive, regardless of who provides it. Still, it would be great to see Mkhitaryan make a strong debut. Good luck to him!