Henrikh Mkhitaryan is set to be the latest Arsenal player to head for the exit door as he prepares to seal a loan move to Serie A outfit AS Roma, according to reports.
The Italian outfit have agreed a season-long loan deal for his services, combined with an option to make the move permanent should Mkhitaryan make an impression.
Mkhitaryan set for Roma switch to reignite career after torrid 18 months
The 30-year-old signed for Arsenal in January 2018 in a swap deal with Manchester United over the transfer of Alexis Sanchez. However, eighteen months later, both players have been left in precarious situations, moving to Serie A in an attempt to reignite what had once looked like two very bright careers.
A shadow of his former self, Mkhitaryan has struggled to provide consistency and quality since moving to The Emirates, with a distinct lack of ruthlessness in the final third seeing him fall down the pecking order.
Summer arrivals Dani Ceballos and Nicholas Pepe have only emphasised the bridge between him and the first-team. As such, the loan switch could provide him with valuable first-team opportunities to build up ahead of steam as he looks to catch Unai Emery’s eye and ensure his move to Arsenal doesn’t turn into a failure.
The former-United man came on during the 2-2 North London Derby draw against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend but has not started since the opening game of the 2019/20 season. He will join Nacho Monreal and Mohamed Elneny on the recent departures list after the duo joined Real Sociedad and Besiktas respectively.
Emery cutting hefty wage bill after another experienced player moves on
Mkhitaryan’s £200,000-a-week contract will be covered in full by Roma, reflective of the club’s current determination to reduce the strain on their wage bill, which has sky-rocketed in recent years. The surge was instigated by a bumper new contract for Mesut Ozil, the club’s top earner on £350,000-a-week much like the situation United fell into after the acquisition of Sanchez.
His move will fuel ample opportunities for Arsenal’s young starlets, such as Reiss Nelson who impressed in the early stages of the season.
Elsewhere, it seems unlikely Emery will be able to offload Skhodran Mustafi before Monday’s European transfer deadline, with the unreliable centre-half maligned for a catalogue of individual errors.
It remains to be seen whether this will be the end of Mkhitaryan’s Arsenal career; regardless of where he finds himself in a year’s time, he’ll be reliant on making a strong impression in Italy.