While Alexis Sanchez has failed to hit the heights following his Manchester United switch early last year, it is easy to forget that Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s Arsenal career has been just as underwhelming.
Whereas on paper, United seemed to be getting the better half of the deal having agreed a free part-exchange for the players involved considering Sanchez’s goalscoring prowess at Arsenal, the Chilean’s dip in form that coincided with his Old Trafford move has never recovered – while Mkhitaryan notched five assists in his first four Gunners appearances.
And despite linking up with former teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang following the striker’s transfer from Borussia Dortmund, the Armenian has never managed to recreate the heights of scoring and assisting he reached in Germany – neither in Manchester nor North London.
Mkhitaryan totalled 32 (that’s thirty-two!) assists in the year prior to his United transfer, yet his best tally in English football remains 12 – either side of his switch between the two clubs in the 2017/18 season.
With the attacking-midfielder’s powers seemingly on the wane, it is hard to suggest his Arsenal move has been much more of a success. And with The Gunners lacking creativity in midfield (with Mesut Ozil also posting low assist rates and Aaron Ramsey now departed), Unai Emery may well be on the hunt for an alternative in that area if Mkhitaryan – or Ozil – fail to convince the boss that Arsenal indeed possess a potent creative force in midfield.
At 30, Mkhitaryan may not have too many years left in the top-flight, but with a market value of £22.5m and the capacity to become an effective provider for teammates, finding a club where he can excel again may be best for both parties now that it becomes clear that his career seems to have peaked prior to his arrival in England.
So with Arsenal reportedly short on cash this summer, it may – or perhaps should – cross Emery’s mind that selling Mkhitaryan may represent a good bit of business for The Gunners, with any fee received representing a profit on the midfielder who netted just six times in the league last season.
To think that Mkhitaryan’s current career trajectory is to continue in its negative vein, Arsenal would do well to offload the midfielder before his enforced inclusion in a squad lacking in top midfield options starts to bring the team down towards the results that plagued the previous season.
This is a time for Emery to be ruthless with his underachieving squad and it is hard to imagine that the failures of the past campaign will pass Arsenal by without claiming a few victims.
Mkhitaryan is by no means the only candidate for a potential chop, but his figures suggest his days at Arsenal may well be numbered.