Henrikh Mkhitaryan has revealed that he found out he was moving to AS Roma after the North London derby at the weekend.
Mkhitaryan made a brief appearance from the bench against Tottenham Hotspur, which left fans bemused when the 30-year-old promptly left for Italy the next day. Supporters rightly questioned why Unai Emery would select the winger if he knew he was leaving.
The simple answer appears to be that they didn’t know at the time. According to Mkhitaryan, he only got the call from his agent after the game.
“Everything happened on the last day, right after the Tottenham game I got a call from my agent,” Mkhitaryan said. “He told me that I have to fly to Rome the next day and to have medicals with the team as well as to sign the contract.
“It is a great opportunity for me as I didn’t get much playing time (with Arsenal).”
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Mkhitaryan signed a season-long loan deal with AS Roma, who agreed to pay a €3m fee to Arsenal for the temporary transfer, as well as a potential €100k in bonuses.
There were differing reports at first over whether there’s an option-to-buy in the player’s contract, but most outlets [BBC, Telegraph, football.london] seem to be in agreement that there isn’t one at this point.
The important thing is that Mkhitaryan rediscovers his old form in Italy. Then it won’t matter whether Roma have an option or not, because plenty of clubs in the country will push to buy him anyway.