Tuesday 19 February 2019

Mkhitaryan can be a success with Arsenal

Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Granit Xhaka has backed Henrikh Mkhitaryan to be a success at Arsenal if he joins in exchange for Alexis Sanchez.

Mkhitaryan has struggled to make an impact at Manchester United since joining in the summer of 2016 and is set to move to the Emirates Stadium, with Sanchez going the other way.

Having impressed Gunners boss Arsene Wenger while playing against Arsenal for Borussia Dortmund, Mkhitaryan has been a long-term target for the Frenchman.

Signing the Armenia international would soften any blow suffered by the loss of Sanchez, who is out of contract in the summer and could walk away then for free.

Xhaka, who came up against Mkhitaryan during his time in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach, reckons he has seen enough to know he can shine in north London.

"I read that in 2009 he said that he likes Arsenal," said Xhaka.

"I'm sure the style of play here would suit him. Every player has their own qualities. He is a great footballer so let's just see what happens.

"It was tough to play against him. To be honest, I would rather have played alongside him. He is a player who is obviously very good and has lots of good qualities as well."

Xhaka was referring to a UEFA interview with Mkhitaryan during his spell at Armenian side Pyunik, where he praised Wenger and said Arsenal were his "favourite team" and that he would "want to play there one day".

Speaking ahead of today's clash with Crystal Palace, Wenger said he feels Mkhitaryan, who turns 29 on Monday, saw how good Arsenal were during their Champions League clashes.

"We played m any times against him (Mkhitaryan) when he was at Dortmund," Wenger said.

"He certainly appreciated the quality of our game and the way we play football. That's why certainly he loves the club as well."

Bringing in Mkhitaryan for Sanchez would end a near 18-month saga with the Chile forward after it originally became clear he was reluctant to sign a new contract at Arsenal.

The 29-year-old came close to leaving for Manchester City in the summer only for a deadline-day move to collapse as Arsenal could not secure a replacement.

Now he seems to be on the cusp of a move to the north-west and Xhaka praised Sanchez for his influence on the Arsenal squad.

"We all see that he always gives everything on the pitch," Xhaka added.

"He wants to win all the time and obviously last season he scored well over 20 goals."

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