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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that he tried to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan in 2016 but failed, before the playmaker joined Manchester United.
The Armenian international joined the Gunners earlier last week as part of a swap deal which saw Alexis Sanchez move to Old Trafford. And the manager has revealed he wanted him two years earlier.
Speaking to the press (via ESPN) Arsene Wenger said: “Yeah, I met him at the time,”.
“At the time we were close, but in in the end it didn’t work.”
The midfielder moved to United from Dortmund and had a rough spell at United largely due to frictions with the manager Jose Mourinho, but he showed his quality when he got to play.
So Wenger finally got his man in the end, however he will have to work on the player’s confidence which must have been damaged by the rough spell under Mourinho as he admitted.
“Yes of course, you worry about how much it has affected him. But as well it’s a new chance for him,” Wenger said. “What you want in life is a new chance, he gets a new chance to show his quality and I’m sure he will take it. I might have to analyze with him how it went, and how we can help him.”
When asked about what position he will operate in for Arsenal, “Personally I see him first wide, but I’m thinking about as well that for him it’s a possibility to play through the middle,” Wenger said. “[As a No. 10] or even deeper.“
Mhkitaryan has played his best football as a No.10, the role which he played at Dortmund, however he impressed on the right flank during his time at Manchester United.
At Arsenal, Ozil already occupies the No. 10 role, so Mhkitaryan will likely operate from the right flank or central midfield as Wenger hinted, much in the same way he converted Santi Cazorla into a world class central midfielder before he got injured.
Whichever position Wenger finally plays him; he is likely to do well as there is the feeling that Wenger already has plans of exactly what to do with him after following him for many years.
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