Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived at Arsenal in a swap deal from Manchester United but the Armenian never seemed at ease with the Emirates outfit.
Last season, Henrikh Mkhitaryan played in 25 Premier League matches for the Gunners but only managed to score six goals and provide four assists. And this inefficiency in the final third was why Unai Emery chose to sell him off to AS Roma during the previous summer transfer window.
This season hasn’t gone too well for him either since he has featured in only four matches so far for Roma but this has largely been due to an injury and not because of his form.
And now that the Armenian has returned back to playing regular football for the Serie A side he’s chosen to give a very candid interview in which he explains how Unai Emery’s obsession with tactics forced him to shut off his natural game at Arsenal.
“He paid more attention to tactics, so my role changed,” Mkhitaryan told FourFourTwo.
“I was starting as a winger but had to build play with the defensive midfielder.
— Henrikh Mkhitaryan (@HenrikhMkh) November 14, 2019
“It’s why I couldn’t contribute as many goals or assists. I like to play more freely and move wherever there’s space, but you have to do the job that the manager asks.
“I couldn’t accept that I had to sit on the bench for some matches. I know my qualities and what I can do.
“I’m 30 years old now and I like to play football, not just sit on the bench and waste my time.
“Emery and [head of football] Raul Sanllehi assured me I was important for Arsenal, but I signed for Roma because they believed in me more.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a key player at Borussia Dortmund and most of his good work around the final third came because of the fact that he was allowed to roam free.
But unfortunately in England, he played under two managers(Mourinho and Unai Emery) who chose to tie him down to very specific roles thereby forcing him to kill his natural game.
His career with AS Roma is yet to kick-off but he has had three starts for them ever since he returned back to full fitness which is a sign that he could finally be able to settle down in Italy.