Tuesday 25 October 2016

Mourinho doesn't waste any time

Henrikh Mkhitaryan being officially unveiled by Manchester United. Photo: Getty
Henrikh Mkhitaryan being officially unveiled by Manchester United. Photo: Getty

Just one day after facing the media for the first time as Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho has completed the third signing of his reign, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming from Borussia Dortmund.

The Premier League club announced that the 27-year-old Armenia international has signed a four-year contract after a fee, reported to be around £26million, was agreed with the German outfit last weekend.

Mkhitaryan follows the deals for Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly and former Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The contract includes an option to extend for a fifth season.

Confirmation of the deal had been widely anticipated after Mourinho, at a press conference on Tuesday, claimed another signing had been completed.

Dortmund had indicated on Saturday that a deal was close after revealing they had accepted an "enormously valuable offer".

Mkhitaryan told the club's website, www.manutd.com: "I am very proud to join Manchester United. This move is a dream come true for me. I am excited to play for a club with such an illustrious history and hope to be part of it for a long time. I am thankful for the trust the club and Jose Mourinho have put in me. Finally, I believe playing for such a great club honours my father's memory, and the inspiration and drive he gave to me when I was young."

Mkhitaryan, whose father Hamlet was also a footballer, made 140 appearances and scored 41 goals Dortmund after joining them from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.

Linked with Liverpool in the past, he is Armenia's most successful player and has scored a national record 19 goals in 59 appearances for his country.

Mourinho said: "Henrikh is a very talented footballer who has been in such prolific form for both his club and his country.

"He is a real team player with great skill, vision and also has a good eye for goal. I am delighted he has chosen to sign for United.

"I believe he will make an impact on the team very quickly as his style of play is suited to the Premier League. We are all looking forward to working with him."

According to Mourinho, United's versatile new centre-back Bailly has all the attributes needed to help bolster their defence next season and will get all the help he needs to develop at the club. Bailly, who became the Portuguese coach's first signing at the Old Trafford club after joining from Villarreal last month, made 47 appearances for the La Liga side last season as they finished fourth and secured a Champions League spot.

"He is a player who we believe has all the attributes. He is very strong physically and very fast," the former Chelsea manager, who replaced Dutchman Louis van Gaal in May, told the club's website yesterday.

"It's not so easy to find a fast player when you have quite a big body; he's a heavy guy, a tall boy who's really fast," said Mourinho.

The 22-year-old Ivory Coast player was in a Villarreal back four that conceded only 35 goals in 38 league matches during the 2015-16 campaign.

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