With the European Championships entering into the knockout rounds, most Premier League clubs are keeping themselves busy scouting while some even signing players, and Manchester United are quite heavily linked, and naturally so, to players of the highest quality in the best of form. On that note, more recently, United have been mooted as the destination for one of Borussia Dortmund’s best players in Henrikh Mkhitaryan whose contract with his current club expires next summer after the player has apparently rejected an extension to prolong his stay in Germany.
This won’t be the first time United could be signing a creative midfielder from Dortmund although there are signs that this time they can extract more from the signing than they did from the last. Mkhitaryan is the type of player who would instantly lift the whole morale, after coming off the back of a brilliant campaign for Tuchel’s largely entertaining Dortmund side. The 27-year old has created 15 goals making him the fifth highest in Europe for 2015/16 in assists.
The numbers speak for themselves. They clearly show why he could be an invaluable addition, a breath of fresh air, for Mourinho’s potentially new look Manchester United. When compared against United’s attacking players – only Martial looks to have done justice to be playing alongside someone like Mkhitaryan, if United happen to buy the Armenian. The Dortmund midfielder/forward has created at least twice as much as anyone at United, scored as many as Anthony Martial from a wide area, assisted more goals than any at United and also has a superior key pass ratio per game than all the others at Man United.
But it’s not these direct/indirect contributions to goal, that could make him a vital addition for United in the summer but it is his style of play and directness on the ball and the work ethic off it that makes him a cut above the rest. On an average per game, Mkhitaryan has completed close to 3 take-ons and the fact that only Martial has managed to match that number shows how restrained United have been playing in the last three years, especially the last couple of years under Louis van Gaal.
There are strong reports from Sky Sports stating Mourinho’s intention to cash-in on Mata for the second time in his managerial career and replace him with Mkhitaryan – who would not only improve the side per se but also bring a bit of edge to him that the Spaniard has often said to have lacked. With super agent Mino Raiola, reported to be “fighting” to get his client his “dream” move to the Old Trafford club only makes the situation easier for Mourinho who could make his second signing since he officially took over the reins from the Dutchman. Raiola, who is also Ibrahimovic’s, another United target, agent, has said,
“I am very proud Manchester United want him and the talks are being held in a good atmosphere, but at the moment Dortmund are still saying no.”
United having tested Dortmund’s resolve with an early bid, will be fully encouraged by Raiola’s recent statements to tempt the Germans with another improved offer. If anything, United supporters can rest easy now seeing their side make the right steps to getting back to where they once were and signing Mkhitaryan, will undoubtedly be an important one, in the immediate future.