With so many midfielders linked with Arsenal @athlon29 made up his mind about where Arsenal could really make their move. Give it a read if you're not fed up with transfer talk;-)
Remy Cabella, Lewis Holtby and Paulinho are only the latest attacking midfielders who have been linked with Arsenal about a possible move to the Gooners this summer. Although these rumours are presumable fake ones, given the recent history of the Arsenal-midfielders, it may be worth taking some targets on this position under serious consideration. In this article I wish to introduce one particular attacking midfielder to Arsenal: Shakhtar Donetsk’s Henrik Mkhitaryan.
Having moved from Metalurg Donetsk to Shakhtar in 2010, Mkhitaryan, whose father was also a professional player, has turned into one of the biggest asset for Mircea Lucescu’s side. The Armenian midfielder, who cost ca. €6 million for Shakhtar, was initially deployed as a deep-lying midfielder behind Jadson, who was also an Arsenal-target in the summer of 2011, but his alleged transfer was reportedly broken down as the Brazilian would not have got the work permit to play for Wenger’s team.
Following Jadson’s departure to Sao Paulo in 2011, Mkhitaryan got the Brazilian’s spot in the starting team. The 23-year-old midfielder has every ingredient to succeed on this position: he reads the game well, makes several Fabregas-equse key passes during the matches, while still efficiently helps for his teammates to cover and defend as a unit. He gave a slight glimpse of this attribute against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in 2010, when he was pressing very well against the Gunners and his performance was outstanding despite Shakhtar’s heavy 5-1 defeat.
Mkhitarayan remarkable strength is his off-ball positioning and how he anticipates the ball. This allows him not only to make several assists for his Brazilian teammates, but also to score some goals. During the pre-season of Shakhtar before the 2012/13 term he was granted with more technical freedom on the pitch by Lucescu, now he can occupy a winger’s position while attacking. After the strong preparations, on his first competitive match in the Ukraine Premier League he scored and assisted twice against Arsenal Kiev. He could have easily scored a hat-trick, but instead he fed unselfishly Ilsinho,who was in a more favourable position in front of the opponent’s goal.
Mkhitaryan, who was the top goalscorer for the Armenian National Team during the qualification round for the Euro12 finals, is also renowned for his off-pitch intelligence. The midfielder is a student of the Armenian State Institute of Physical Culture, and speaks several languages, including English, fluent. What is even more, he himself admitted that he is a huge Arsenal-fan in an interview for UEFA in 2009.
“My favourite team is Arsenal. I like their attacking play and fast style. Moreover, Arsène Wenger puts faith in young players while demanding results at the same time. I like that and want to play there one day,” - he told UEFA.com. Given the attributes mentioned above, Henrik Mkhitaryan would be undoubtedly a perfect addition to Arsenal, whose transfer fee may represent his real quality and value. I would not be surprised if Steve Rowley indeed had recommended him to Arséne Wenger over a possible move, if not in this summer, then in the next.