So far in this transfer window, we have witnessed Liverpool doing their business early to secure their targets. Mignolet, Aspas, Alberto and Kolo Toure have all arrived on Merseyside before the transfer window has officially opened. Another rumoured target is Shaktar Donetsk’s Armenian midfield man, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Obviously, like many others, I knew little on Mkhitaryan. I could recall his name from Shaktar’s Champions League campaign, but I could not recall the player himself or his performances. Research needed to be done. Once I had found out how Mkhitaryan plays, it seems a no brainer that Liverpool should bid for him.
Mkhitaryan is a versatile attacker which would satisfy Brendan Rodgers. Much to the manager’s delight, Rodgers would be able to experiment his forward options by deploying Mkhitaryan in the multiple positions he is capable of playing.
In order to utilise the Armenian to the best of his ability, he thrives behind the striker. In the ‘Number 10’ role or in the hole, which ever saying you prefer. Mkhitaryan possesses the ability to create space for the wingers and strikers in his side, thus allowing the wide men to exploit the acres of space they have, or assisting the striker. Such a player would be integral to Liverpool and the aspirations for next season. His creativity in the final third contributed to seven assists.
However, his goal tally last season for a midfielder is majestic. Mkhitaryan racked up an astonishing 25 goals in the Ukrainian League last term. Such an amount would have been an accolade for a striker, so it highlights the devastating effect the Armenian had last term in Ukraine.
Doubters suggest the Ukrainian League is not the most challenging, which may be correct in contrast to their European counterparts, but 25 goals in any division from midfield is a feat. 23 of these goals came from open play, with Mkhitaryan scoring one header and one penalty to round off his total to 25.
Topping the goal-scoring charts, with the nearest tally of 17 from Ideye Brown of Kiev the only threat to his honour.
Yet there is more to Mkhitaryan than his creativity and goal-scoring talents. Mkhitaryan is a gifted player and the ideal candidate for the trequartista role in any side. The midfielder maestro is often lauded for many attributes. His work rate and accurate passing make him a key figure for the Armenian national side and current employers and Ukraine Champions, Shakhtar.
Mkhitaryan can make things happen with the ball at his feet, but his movement off the ball can be just as effective for his side. Darting runs across the 18 yard box, drawing defenders away from their zones allowing space for his team to exploit and work to their advantage.
Plenty of attributes make this Armenian gem an ideal player for any club, but would do the required job at the ambitious Merseyside giants, Liverpool.
Mkhitaryan could help fill the void from want-away striker, Luis Suarez, if he gets his much coveted transfer to Real Madrid. Potentially one of the best attacking options the Reds could have next season, Mkhitaryan could certainly contribute with goals from midfield.
Especially as goal-scoring midfielders are hard to come by nowadays, Liverpool should take full advantage of this opportunity to sign the rising Armenian talent.
Written by Liam Lee
Follow Liam on Twitter @Liam10Lee
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