Arsenal are set to make their second signing of the summer and according to reports they have beaten off strong competition from Chelsea for the players signature.
The Gunners have started this transfer window with purpose having already completed a £30million deal for Granit Xhaka and meeting the release clause of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.
Now Arsenal appear to be closing in on a £23.5million move for Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
In May Fresh Arsenal brought you reports that Arsenal had made a ‘lucrative offer’ to sign Mkhitaryan. He has less than 12 months remaining on his current contract and the Gunners are reportedly willing to offer him wages well in excess of £90,000 per-week.
The Armenian midfielders agent Mino Raiola has been talking up a move away, with Dortmund refusing the players demands to include a release clause that would become active should coach Thomas Tuchel leave.
The 27-year-old has excelled under new coach Thomas Tuchel, scoring 21 and assisting 20 in 50 appearances this season. His end product is brilliant and that is something that the Gunners certainly lack in wide areas. Only Alexis Sanchez has made a significant contribution in terms of goals and assists from the wing and Mkhitaryan would certainly help the Gunners become more efficient in front of goal. A lack of efficiency from the Arsenal front three was probably the main reason the club did not win the Premier League last season.
Mkhitaryan was previously considered to be an attacking midfielder but he has excelled in a wide right role under Tuchel. His productivity from wide areas makes him particularly appealing to Arsenal. Mkhitaryan’s ability to play centrally is also atttractive, considering there is no obvious number 10 back up to Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal squad.
Mkhitaryan has creative instincts similar to Ozil but more pace and is more comfortable in front of goal. Of course his creativity isn’t quite upto the level of the Germans but his ability in dribble and score make him a quality wing option. Alongside Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal would have one of, if not the best attacking midfield trio in the league and amongst the best in Europe – that is no exaggeration. With 21 goals and 20 assists Mkhitaryan managed one of the best goal and assist returns in Europe last season.
Negotiations are set to continue into the coming weeks with Mkhitaryan not playing at Euro 2016. The Gunners will hope a deal can be reach soon though, with Dortmund now openly willing to sell the player. Chelsea could easily come in and bid more than Arsenal so Arsene Wenger will need to move fast. Wenger will also hope that the chance to play Champions League football at Arsenal appeals to the player more than playing in no European competition whatsoever for Chelsea next season. Recent reports have also supported the theory that the Armenian midfielder favours a move to Arsenal ahead of Chelsea.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to make way should Mkhitaryan arrive, with Southampton and Leicester keen on the 22-year-old English midfielder.