In a deal that saw Alexis Sánchez go the other way, Arsenal has signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Manchester United. Arsenal fans can rest assured knowing they got the better of a high-profile exchange. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is more of an Arsenal player than Alexis Sánchez, and his signing will transform the club going forward.
Here’s how Henrikh Mkhitaryan will transform Arsenal.
What does he play like?
For those who don’t know what type of player Henrikh Mkhitaryan is, let’s go into detail. The Armenian is a technically gifted creative player that seeks to create for others rather than steal the glory himself. He uses his elusive movement and creative mind to destabilise opposing defences, by drawing defenders away thus giving space for other attackers to exploit.
He’s a player that loves to be involved in all phases of build-up play. At times, he’s not scared to travel with the ball from the defensive third to the final third straight through the middle of the pitch.
He may not be the quickest, but his acceleration is frightening, and with his exceptional ball control, he can be extremely difficult to dispossess. All traits, might we add, that a certain Chilean does not possess.
As a versatile attacker, Henrikh Mkhitaryan can play in any of the wide positions or as the player behind the striker, that’s how effective he is. Off the ball, the Armenian is just as effective as he works hard, regularly tracking back.
On the downside, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been cited for not always delivering the best final pass. The 29-year-old often does the hard work before ruining it with a bad pass or loose touch in the attacking third.
Also, it’s worth noting that the former Manchester United winger has never been one to be known for his strength, so that may have been a reason as to why he hasn’t since succeeded in the very physical Premier League. That may also be why Jose Mourinho publicly stated the 29-year-old wasn’t fit enough in his first few months at Old Trafford.
What will he add?
Arsène Wenger prides himself on signing players that best adhere to his philosophy of Tikki-Takka football. Henrikh Mkhitaryan fits that bill as he always wants the ball to feet, he also loves to bring others into the game.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the Emirates gives the Gunners a very flexible attacking line-up. His skillsets best represent those of a Samir Nasri in an Arsenal shirt. A player that connects well with others quickens the speed of play and continually finds himself in promising positions. A footballer that quickly adapts to the role of an inside forward or shadow striker.
In his career thus far, the 29-year-old has scored 76 goals, averaging a goal every 3 games. That’s impressive for a player that’s not known for his goalscoring prowess but rather notorious for his creativity.
The Armenian brings flair, pedigree, fluidity, creativity and innovation to an Arsenal side void of ideas and identity. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set to be confirmed in the coming days, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s transfer only adds more chemistry to the Gunners’ starting XI.