Yesterday, with many a tab open on the social media accounts of both Arsenal and Manchester United, many Gunners looked eagerly on for the confirmation of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s move to the Emirates. After much speculation and the exposition of certain four legged ITKs, Mkhitaryan’s acquisition was announced at 6PM.
At the same time, one incoming signing spelled the departure of another, El Nino Maravilla, Alexís Sánchez. This transfer will no doubt leave a sour taste in the mouths of all Gunners worldwide, with his departure all not too dissimilar to Van Persie’s. And the same questions must be asked again: Did he leave for the money, or for the lack of ambition?
Something is telling me that this transfer is the catalyst to such a change, which makes it a shame as this was only realised with the departure of one of our greatest players in the last decade. Despite all the resentment all of us feel now, I truly believe that if a player no longer wants to play for the club, he should hand in a transfer request. Sanchez didn’t do this, which made it all the more frustrating as the squad forever remained unhinged and unstable contingent on rumours about his future.
Nevertheless, the departure of Sanchez welcomes Mkhitaryan. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s tenure at Manchester United started well, and even in this current season assisted four times at the start of the season. Subsequently, he fell foul of the Mourinho effect, which has impacted many a great player before him. However like these players (De Bruyne, Salah etc), Mkhitaryan could thrive in this team.
Far from a polarising figure, Mkhitaryan has the potential to slot perfectly into an Arsenal Squad which is in dire need of another creative maestro.
With Özil having a free roam in the middle of the park edging onto the final third, one could see them link up perfectly as Mkhitaryan seeks to become more direct. Personally, having less of the ball wouldn’t disgruntle Özil – in fact, having another player that’s not Iwobi to play off would be extremely beneficial and would potentially result in some beautiful examples of Wengerball in the latter half of this season and hopefully seasons to come.
This domino effect I spoke of in the title encapsulates the change Gazidis hinted at at the start of the season. This change is now covering both on and off the pitch; one of our best backroom acquisitions in years, Sven Mislintat has been integral so far and a breath of fresh air. Not only has he recommended signing a promising young defender in Mavropanos, he has also proved quintessential in our ongoing talks with Aubameyang which have a significant chance of going through. Once we have recruited the Gabonese striker’s services, one could easily see a return to the top four and Champions League football next season. While this is all dependent on how well these incoming players gel with the team, and of course there being the problem of our defence and midfield, this is certainly moving in the right direction for Arsenal.
In the long run, this latest transfer could be one of our most pivotal pieces of business in years.