The fact that Arsenal could be getting a player like Henrikh Mkhitaryan without having to pay a fee, all while potentially receiving a decent sum for a player who could have been lost for free in the summer, has to be seen as decent business.

By 90Min
January 19, 2018

There's no doubt about it - Manchester United are getting a world class player in the form of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal. But it may just be that the Gunners' piece of business here is being vastly underrated.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has enjoyed a pretty torrid time of things this season - bar the first five games or so when he flew out of the traps as an assisting machine - and at the time of writing his Old Trafford nightmare appears to be drawing to a close.

Arsene Wenger has confirmed the Sanchez-Mkhitaryan swap deal is very much on and that he is a fan of the player, and Arsenal could be coming out of the deal far better than people are anticipating.

Yes, any club would be stung losing a quality player like Sanchez, but the fact is Mkhitaryan, ability-wise, is extremely well-suited to the way Wenger's team likes to try and play, and is just as versatile as Sanchez.

The Armenian did wilt under the undeserved criticisms of some United fans and his manager Jose Mourinho at times this season, but a move to the Emirates could provide the Armenian with the new leaf he evidently needs.

Before his move to United in the summer of 2016, Mkhitaryan was voted into the Bundesliga Team of the Season and laid on the most assists out of anyone in the league. He was also voted Kicker's Players' Player of the Season.

Even for United in his first season, he made the most assists in the EFL Cup, and was named in the Europa League Squad of the Season, and demonstrated in flashes (his scorpion kick goal against Sunderland, anyone?) his tremendous skill.

It's very easy, especially for English football followers, to forget how good a player Mkhitaryan actually is. Obviously he isn't as good as Sanchez, but realistically there are very few players in the world who are.

The fact that Arsenal look to be getting this player without having to pay a single penny, all while recouping around £30m for a player who could have been lost for free in the summer, has to be seen as decent business.

It could be argued that finally selling the moody Sanchez gets rid of the lingering dark cloud hovering over the Emirates Stadium, and replacing that would be a clear blue sky in the form of Mkhitaryan. The Chilean has cut a frustrated figure for at least a year, and it has to be a good thing to be parting ways with an individual who is longer about the football club.

There is always the risk when paying a player so much more than everybody else, that you're going to upset the balance a bit when things go awry. If Sanchez fails to deliver, are his new teammates going to take kindly to the fact that he's raking in perhaps three times as much as they are?

It was massive mis-management on the Arsenal's part to have gotten themselves into the situation they find themselves in admittedly, but if they pull the deal that's being talked about out of the bag, and by all accounts it's pretty close, then it won't have ended all too badly - especially if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang comes in as well; someone Mkhitaryan would have a great understanding with from their time at Borussia Dortmund together.

Mkhitaryan has been treatedly harshly (seemingly) from the moment he walked through the door at Old Trafford, but could flourish at the Emirates playing the free-flowing attacking football he was apparently so fond of back in 2009.

The star, simply put, is an instant upgrade on both Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck, and could work as part of a fearsome attacking trident with Alexandre Lacazette, who is crying out for better service, and potentially Aubameyang.

He'll definitely feel as though he has a point to prove, and the Gunners could find themselves with a player on their hands who is raring to go. Someone who is ready to unleash his frustrations on unsuspecting clubs.

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