Henrikh Mkhitaryan has admitted the chance to leave Arsenal only came about after Sunday’s north London derby with Tottenham – but has explained exactly why he had little choice in making the move to Roma.
Mkhitaryan came on as a second-half substitute in Arsenal’s 2-2 with draw against Tottenham on Sunday, but appears to be a long way down in Unai Emery’s pecking order with the Armenian struggling to hit the heights during his time at Emirates Stadium.
And while his move to Roma, who have paid a nominal fee to sign him on loan for the year, does not contain an obligation to buy, it seems the player has donned the Arsenal kit for the last time with widespread reports claiming the Gunners will look to move him on next summer, with his deal at the club due to expire in 2020.
Mkhitaryan put a positive spin on his move to Rome when questioned earlier this week, saying how he’d always wanted to try life in Serie A, having starred in the Bundesliga and the Premier League.
But now it seems the Armenian has a different spin on things and suggests he was left with little choice.
Mkhitaryan, 30, had started just one of Arsenal’s first four Premier League games, and says the lure of regular game time persuaded him to make the switch to Serie A.
He said: “Everything happened in the last day right after the Tottenham game I got a call from my agent.
“He told me that I have to fly to Rome the next day to have a medical with the team and also sign a contract.
“It is a great opportunity for me as I didn’t get a lot of playing time.”
Looking forward to getting started…
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 4, 2019
Roma are believed to have paid £2.75m loan fee for the 30-year-old, with his move no doubt being welcomed by former Arsenal star Nigel Winterburn.
“Arsenal should look to sell Mkhitaryan to a European team this transfer window,” Winterburn said last month.
“When everyone is back fit for Arsenal, Mkhitaryan is going to struggle to get any game time at all during the season.
“Mkhitaryan looks a frustrated figure, nothing seems to be working out for him on the pitch – his passes are misplaced, his shooting is off and he can’t beat his man.”
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