News that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rejected Borussia Dortmund’s latest offer to open contract negotiations has made his departure this summer all the more likely given the player has just one more year to run on his contract in Germany.
The Bundesliga giants may be keen to cash in now rather than lose him on a free transfer next year and Arsenal are one club who may well pounce.
The 27 year old was a key figure last season as Borussia bounced back from a disappointing campaign well to finish 2nd in the Bundesliga and retake their place in the Champions League, whilst also progressing to the German Cup final.
Mkhitaryan netted a hugely impressive 18 goals and contributed 20 assists to Borussia’s cause and those sort of figures do not go unnoticed so competition for his signature could be fierce with a host of Premier League clubs said to be interested.
Dortmund have already lost star players Ilkay Gündogan to Manchester City and Mats Hummels to Bayern Munich over the past couple of weeks but last season, Mkhitaryan was the real jewel in their crown and with Borussia’s squad looking considerably weakened already, he too may be very tempted to jump ship.
An Arsenal feel
He very much has the feel of an Arsenal player about him. He’s an extremely versatile attack-minded midfielder, who can play on the left, right or through the middle and someone who clearly is capable of both scoring and creating plenty of goals.
Gunners fans may feel they are already well blessed in that department but unquestionably Mkhitaryan would be an upgrade on one or two of their midfielders who had disappointing seasons.
The fall guy
The fall guy could be Theo Walcott whose Arsenal career is at something of a crossroads. Despite an excellent 2012-13 campaign, injuries and poor runs of form have stunted his development since then and if the Gunners are really to move on to the next level they may need to look elsewhere.
The England man featured as a forward and on the wing this season for the Gunners, but didn’t do enough in either position to really warrant his place in the team on a regular basis.
Olivier Giroud remains the first choice forward and with the possibility of a new addition in that department this summer, Walcott’s best choice of staying in the side is likely to be on the wing.
However a potential attacking midfield trio of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be a tantalising prospect. No striker in the world wouldn’t want to play in front of those three given the number of chances they will create and if the Gunners can make a quick swoop for the Armenian, it will really give some momentum to their summer transfer activity and could help convince a big name striker to join the club.
Arsenal fans may not have seen the back of Arsene Wenger, but it does seem the Frenchman is finally alert to the fact that he has to act this transfer window ahead of what is likely to be his final chance to end the wait for Premier League or Champions League glory.
It might also be the time to say goodbye to one or two players who haven’t quite stepped up to the level required for that to happen and the arrival of Mkhitaryan might push Walcott closer towards the Emirates exit door.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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