Henrikh Mkhitaryan has admitted it hurts him a lot to have to miss out on the Europa League final, after Arsenal confirmed he wouldn’t be in the squad later this month.
Arsenal posted on the club website on Tuesday to announce that Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for the final against Chelsea on May 29th. They confirmed they’ve explored all the options and spoken to the player and his family, but collectively agreed he couldn’t attend.
The problem is that due to political tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Mkhitaryan was never going to feel safe playing in Baku. UEFA’s efforts to help seemed to solely include getting him a visa, which was never the issue. The Gunners have written to UEFA to express their ‘deep concerns’ about the situation.
Mkhitaryan posted on Instagram to reveal his disappointment at missing out on such a rare occasion for a player.
It’s not as if this scenario should have been a surprise to UEFA, as Arsenal had the same problem back in October when they faced Qarabag. Other than securing a visa (the bare minimum), the European Football governing body appear to have done nothing in the seven months since then except hope Arsenal didn’t make the final.
Unai Emery will just have to manage without the 30-year-old, but it appears he anticipated the problem at least. Arsenal pulled youth wingers Bukayo Saka and Xavier Amaechi out of England action to keep them available for the squad, just in case.