Henrikh Mkhitaryan believes he made the right choice leaving Arsenal for Roma on a permanent basis but at least he hasn’t said he wanted to leave the club after the first day like Alexis Sanchez at Manchester United.
Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Arsenal will go down as one of the all-time worst swap deals. Although a strong case can be made that Arsenal got the better end of the deal – Mkhitaryan generally played better and cost less – neither side did well out of it at all and, in footballing terms at least, the players probably did worse.
Speaking this week, Alexis revealed he wanted to return to Arsenal before the ink was even dry on his £500kpw contract at United.
“I want to tell you about my period at United, about many things that were said and that made me look bad,” said Sánchez. “I got the opportunity to go to United and it seemed tempting to me. It was something nice for me, because, when I was a kid, I liked that club a lot.
“I ended up signing without much information about what was happening in the move. The first days that I was with my colleagues, sometimes there are things that you do not realise until you arrive.
“The first training I had I realised many things. I came home and I told my representative: ‘Can’t the contract be terminated to return to Arsenal?’ They start laughing and I told them that something did not sit right with me. It [the contract] had already been signed.”
Mkhitaryan has been relatively tight-lipped about what happened for him at Arsenal although many of us are aware it was Jose Mourinho at United who ruined the Armenian for English football.
Speaking to the Roma website after his move was made permanent following the cancellation of his Arsenal contract at a cost of £1m, Mkhitaryan said, “I’m very happy to be here now, I’m very happy to have signed a permanent deal with AS Roma. I think I made a good decision, the right decision for myself and my career, and I’m looking forward to another season here.
“I am playing football to score goals and to assist; but of course it is not always important to do that, because in some games you can have just an amazing performance without scoring or assisting – but you can still have a really big contribution to the team and to the win. So I think it is more important to keep working hard on the pitch and to make the team win, instead of thinking about scoring and assisting.
“But I am going to push, I am going to do my best to surpass my statistics from last season and to have better statistics next season.”
It is a shame that Mkhitaryan met Jose Mourinho when he arrived in England. It is very likely had he went straight to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger his time in the country would have been very different.
As it stands, Mkhitaryan played 122 for United and Arsenal (63 & 5), scoring 22 (13 & 9) and assisting 24 (11 & 13).
At Dortmund he scored 41 and assisted 49 in 140 appearances while in Rome he already has nine goals and six assists in just 27 appearances, despite his season being disrupted by a number of injuries.