The news of Mkhitaryan’s likely transfer to Arsenal has elicited mixed feelings, despite his undoubted quality.
Regardless of his Manchester United debacle, a player who was once Bundesliga Player-of-the-Season is surely a class player. We’ve seen glimpses of his undoubted quality in the EPL, too… Scorpion-kick version 1.
However, in recent times, players who have come from United to Arsenal have always done so because of a lack of playing time, declining performances, or because they felt under-valued.
How have previous players fared having switched from United to Arsenal?
Without racking my brain, Mikael Silvestre and, more recently, Danny Welbeck spring to mind.
Silvestre, after many good years at Inter Milan and United, was clearly spent before coming to Arsenal. While Welbeck, despite just approaching what should normally be the peak years of a player, age 27 to 30, has never really convinced – injuries haven’t helped, too.
Simply put, Manchester City and Liverpool would not be as free-scoring and ahead of Arsenal on the league table if Welbeck was playing for them instead of one of Sane, Salah, Sterling, Firminho, or Mane.
Welbeck is a good player, and a good man, but he’s just not dynamic or technical enough for a team that aspires to win the English League.
Saying all these, I’m still quite convinced that Mkhitaryan would do far better at Arsenal and here the reasons:
Reasons why Mkhitaryan will succeed at Arsenal
- He has a point to prove
It’s not often you ‘flop’ at a big club and, straight away, get a chance to redeem yourself at another big club within the same league.
Therefore, Mhkitaryan will see going to Arsenal as a chance to not only redeem himself but, perhaps, prove Mourinho wrong.Also, given that his transfer is a direct swap with Alexis Sanchez, Mhkitaryan will, for the sake of his pride, not want to seen as being of poorer comparative value.
- Arsenal has many people of German Nationality or who have played in the Bundesliga
When a player settles in well and truly feels at home at a football club, it’s easier for him to churn out good performances, and one of the main factors that helps them settle into a club early is having people they can relate with – people from the same country, those who played in the same league as them previously, or players who speak the same language.
Mhkitaryan might be Armenian but, having performed brilliantly in Germany for many years, he must also feel very German in many ways.Therefore, it helps that we have a host of people with Germany/Bundesliga connections.We have players Mertesacker, Mustafi, Ozil, and Xhaka, who appeared to already welcome him.
We also have Arsenal legend, Jens Lehman, and Fitness Expert, Shad Forsythe.
- The Mislintat Factor
It’s been well documented the role our new Chief-Scout, Mislintat, played in recruiting Mhkitaryan for Borussia Dortmund; therefore, it can only help to have the same man already at Arsenal now and, presumably, well involved in the whole idea and process of brining Mhkitaryan to Arsenal.
He certainly knows a thing or two about properly deploying Mhkitaryan and getting the best out of him.
- Freedom to express himself more
When it comes to instilling tactical discipline in a player, you can argue that Mourinho’s strength is Wenger’s weakness and vice-versa.Mourinho micro-coaches every aspect of a player’s on-field contributions, while Wenger, who insists on a minimum level of ball-artistry, only provides a template from which the player can then go on to express himself freely.This is the reason why Mourinho’s teams are usually better drilled tactically while Wenger’s are more aesthetically-pleasing to watch.
Therefore, it’s expected that an artist such as Mhkitaryan, like Rosicky (player of similar style and also once of Dortmund) before him, will be allowed to express himself better under Wenger and in essence thrive better.
- Arsenal’s football style is similar to Dortmund’s
Arsenal’s style of football is more similar to Dortmund’s than United’s is.The similarity is not so much about the pressing style that Dortmund has deployed in recent years but more about a general emphasis on all-out attack football.
This is why Arsenal and Dortmund both score lots of goals while also shipping in loads at the back.Mourinho on the other hand will not sacrifice defensive solidity to any degree for free-flowing attacking football.For this reason, Wenger will not put so much defensive responsibility on Mhkitaryan – at least not to the point where he becomes an outcast, as under Mourinho, if he doesn’t help too much in providing defensive cover – provided the Wenger-ball returns to its best.
- Mutual admiration between him and Wenger
We know that Wenger generally loves a certain type of player – skilful, technically brilliant, able to create and score. What is even more certain now is that he loves Mkhitaryan and even had him on his radar, apparently before his United switch.
Ian Wright in his usual know-it-all and must-be-critical style has labelled the move “panicky” and an “after-thought”, but reports of Mkhitaryan himself having always admired Arsenal and the Wengerball should extinguish that sentiment.If, truly, player and manager are keen on working with each other, then there is no better platform for Mkhitaryan to launch a successful Arsenal career.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
Do you think Mhkitaryan will shine at Arsenal?
Drop your comments below ⇓