Arsenal are set to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez. How can they get the best from an attacker who has toiled in recent months?
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a wonderfully gifted player. He may not have had the most enjoyable time at Manchester United, struggling with fitness and injuries early on, failing to ever establish himself throughout his 18 months there, and falling out with Jose Mourinho, if the reports are to be believed. But the ability is undeniable. Arsenal are inheriting a troubled but talented player.
quick glance at his statistics while with Borussia Dortmund will tell you that much.
The Armenian played for three seasons with the German club. He played a total of 6,953 Bundesliga minutes. In that time, he totalled 23 goals and 29 assists. That yields a direct involvement in a goal every 133.7 minutes. Over such an extended period like that, that is an extremely impressive rate.
However, Mkhitaryan suffered a disappointing season in 2014/15, scoring just three goals and assisting four. If you were to take out that season, and just consider his first and third seasons while with Dortmund, his statistics only become more impressive. In those two campaigns, he played 5,032 minutes, scoring 20 goals and assisting 25, resulting in a direct involvement in a goal every 111.8 minutes. That is truly outstanding. So what was the difference? Because, by understanding the difference between these seasons, as well as the recent struggles at United, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger can perhaps get the best out of him.