Arsenal have cancelled Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s contract so he can join Roma for free but the player had to pay for the pleasure, details below.

VERONA, ITALY - DECEMBER 01: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of As Roma celebrates after scoring the 1-3 goal during the Serie A match between Hellas Verona and AS Roma at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on December 1, 2019 in Verona, Italy. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
VERONA, ITALY: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of AS Roma celebrates after scoring on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

At the end of June, AS Roma announced Henrikh Mkhitaryan would extend his loan with the club to the end of the season. They added, rather vaguely, that they had a ‘preliminary agreement’ for the player to stay for the next season as well.

This led to some speculation about whether that meant a permanent deal or another loan extension. Journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted that would be a permanent move but suggested Roma wouldn’t pay a transfer fee for the player.

On 31 August, Arsenal announced that they had indeed cancelled Mkhitaryan’s contract and the player would join Roma in a permanent move.

According to The AFC Bell writing at the time of the initial report, Arsenal’s main financial incentive in letting Mkhitaryan leave was in terms of his wages. Roma will now have to cover the player’s £8.5m wages in full and Arsenal will also save another £2.5m in loyalty bonuses.

In addition, Mkhitaryan and his agent will have to pay a compensation amount to Arsenal of around £1m to cancel the final year of his contract with the club.

Overall, that’s around £12-13m saved.

Ideally, you want a transfer fee to let a player go rather than a nominal contract cancellation compensation fee. But it seems Arsenal essentially reached the conclusion this was the only way to get Mkhitaryan’s wages off the bill this summer.