After securing a season-long loan deal to join AS Roma, Henrikh Mkhitaryan has admitted a lack of game time was the root cause of his decision to search for opportunities elsewhere.
Lack of consistency and quality has made for a frustrating year
The Armenian signed for Arsenal back in January 2018 from Manchester United in a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move the other way.
Creating three goals on his debut set quite the precedent for what appeared to be a strong move from Arsenal. However, he has since found it hard to replicate such form, with the 30-year-old's all-round play nose-diving since his Borussia Dortmund days.
Arguably the biggest criticism during his time at The Emirates has been a lack of consistency and quality in the final third. Able to roam into good positions given his strong turn of pace and confidence in the dribble, Mkhitaryan often finds himself in dangerous areas only to squander possession or fail to pick out a teammate.
Such was the case against Tottenham at the weekend where, having come on as a late substitute, he appeared bereft of confidence, running into traffic rather than picking his head up and reading the play.
Mkhitaryan admits lack of playing time as he relishes new challenges
Sunday's draw was his third appearance this season but a relative lack of game time since Unai Emery's arrival has seen him fall even further down the pecking order, emphasised by the summer arrivals of Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe.
Speaking after his move to Rome, Mkhitaryan admitted his lack of consistent minutes in England's top flight and appeared to be relishing the challenge of making a statement at his new club.
"Everything happened in the last day, right after the Tottenham game. I got a call from my agent," he said when discussing the deadline day move.
"He told me that I have to fly to Rome the next day to have a medical with the team and also sign a contract. It is a great opportunity for me as I didn't get a lot of playing time."