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Manchester United make third signing of the summer; Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Manchester United seem to be starting to sort out their summer spending very quickly with Zlatan Ibrahimovic already being announced as a Manchester United player on Friday and former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan arriving at the club on Wednesday. The Armenian international flew into Manchester Airport shortly after 15:30 on Friday afternoon after weeks of speculation surrounding his future at the German club, who this summer alone have lost both Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gundogan. Mkhitaryan is an attacking midfielder who is also able to play behind a striker, which is where he thrives. He can help make the space for strikers and wingers to get in through the defence, which is something United had trouble doing last season. Mkhitaryan has the technique, movement, accurate passing, dribbling, creativity, ball control and work rate – which are all the ingredients needed to succeed at Manchester United. The Armenian has a dangerous shot, the added trickery to beat the defence and the vision needed to pass the ball to his team-mates.

Many seem to think that Mkhitaryan will fill the right-wing void at the club, which could well be the case, but in the fact that the Armenian can play well centrally in the number 10 or trequarista role, I think that is where he would thrive. The Daily Mail revealed that Jose Mourinho met Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney, and Marcus Rashford before England left St Georges Park ahead of Euro 2016 – telling the trio that they would be central to his plans this coming season; also suggesting that he would take their shackles off and allow them to entertain the crowd and play the United way. To me, that would suggest that Rashford may play in the right-wing role, where he would benefit from playing alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Mkhitaryan playing just behind getting precise passes into the box and out to the wings, were both Rashford and Martial will play. In effect, United would have three strikers; two of those playing in wide positions. This may not be the case all of the time, be is certainly would make sense, to me at least.

Mkhitaryan is a successful player winning seven league titles with Pyunik Yerevan and Shakhtar Donetsk, also winning eight other major honours with the two clubs plus Borussia Dortmund. Manchester United will be his fifth club with him also having a spell with Metalurh Donetsk. Up until the end of last season, Mkhitaryan had played 372 matches for his clubs, scoring 136 goals, which is a great return for a midfield player. At Dortmund alone, he scored 40 goals in 136 appearances over three seasons. For Armenia, Mkhitaryan has made 59 appearances since 2007, scoring 19 goals. His move to Manchester United could define him as a star player, he certainly ticks all the boxes to become one of the best players at the club. His arrival could threaten Juan Mata, who was sold by Mourinho in January 2015 during his second spell at Chelsea, and that could well happen again. United have stagnated over the past three years post-Sir Alex Ferguson, and this season could be the starting point to turn that stagnation into success once again.

Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Henrikh Mkhitaryan said:

“I am very proud to join Manchester United, this move is a dream come true for me. I am excited to play for a club with such an illustrious history and hope to be part of it for a long time. I thank the trust the club and Jose Mourinho have put in me. Finally, I believe playing for such a great club honours my father’s memory, and the inspiration and drive he gave to me when I was young.”

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, speaking about his latest signing, said:

“Henrikh is a very talented footballer who has been in such prolific form for both his club and his country. He is a real team player with great skill, vision and also has a good eye for goal. I am delighted he has chosen to sign for United. I believe he will make an impact on the team very quickly as his style of play is suited to the Premier League. We are all looking forward to working with him.”

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