Henrikh Mkhitaryan's contract negotiations with Borussia Dortmund have stalled following an "unusual contract demand" from the Armenian—news that has alerted Arsenal, Chelsea and "a host of top European clubs."
According to German outlet Kicker (h/t the Daily Star's Jamie Styles), "talks with Dortmund have been put on hold" after the 27-year-old requested a "release clause to be activated if current boss Thomas Tuchel leaves the club or is fired."
The powers that be at the Westfalenstadion have reportedly been "shocked" by the demand, which they are "unwilling to meet."
While the demand itself is unusual, it is also understandable—BVB have been flying high under the German in an impressive debut season, and Tuchel could be one of the biggest attractions in signing a new deal, so if he were to depart the club prematurely that lure would be gone.
Mkhitaryan would make an excellent buy for Arsenal, who will look to add further firepower to their side after a difficult season for many of their attacking stars.
The 27-year-old racked up a phenomenal 23 goals and 32 assists in 52 appearances this season. Here are some of his many highlights:
He can be effective on either flank or in the centre, which would afford manager Arsene Wenger freedom and flexibility in deploying him wherever he's needed based on the personnel alongside him.
As Squawka Football revealed, Mkhitaryan is not only an expert in creating opportunities for his team-mates, but he also possesses exceptional dribbling skills:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Henrikh Mkhitaryan's Bundesliga season by numbers: 30 games 81 chances created 78 take-ons 15 assists 11 goals https://t.co/7k4ntS5UpY2016-5-1 08:39:03
Football journalist Rafael Hernandez is an admirer of the player on and off the field:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
Besides exceeding at football, Mkhitaryan speaks six languages and has degrees on economy and physical education.2016-5-23 18:51:14
What might further encourage the Gunners is that there seems to be an expectation in some quarters the midfielder will be moving on in the summer. DW Sports' Stefan Bienkowski believes he is likely to do so:
Stefan Bienkowski @SBienkowski
Mkhitaryan is probably leaving too. But kudos on the positive thinking. https://t.co/Tlykq5uGYg2016-4-28 16:13:25
Despite ultimately finishing second, Arsenal yet again failed to sustain a title challenge into the final months of the 2015-16 season, and one of the reasons for that was Wenger's failure to recruit more attacking power in the final third.
While Mkhitaryan's capture would not be a substitute for a top centre-forward, he can bring more goals into the side and an extra touch of class, too.
Arsenal should act quickly before their rivals make a move or he is able to negotiate a new deal with Dortmund.