Arsenal 'Held to Ransom' by Henrikh Mkhitaryan in Latest Transfer Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30:  Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on December 30, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Arsenal are reportedly being "held to ransom" by Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan ahead of a potential January transfer.

According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, the Gunners are considering a swap deal involving Mkhitaryan and Alexis Sanchez, with both players said to be valued at around £35 million by their respective clubs.

However, it's suggested the Armenia international is making matters complicated, along with his agent, Mino Raiola.

"Mkhitaryan has got three-and-a-half years left on his £150,000-a-week contract, wants a pay rise to go to Arsenal and will also want a 'golden handshake' to leave United," Cross wrote.

"Raiola wants a big agent commission—more than £5 million—and it is believed he will use the opportunity to try and renegotiate future terms for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another of his clients."

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 23: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Im
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Cross added while Arsenal wanted Mkhitaryan plus cash before selling Sanchez, the club are finding it tough to bargain with United. That's because the Chile international's contract at the Emirates Stadium is set to expire at the end of the season.

According to Duncan Castles of the Daily Record, the 28-year-old wants to become the biggest earner at the Emirates Stadium:

As we can see here, Raiola told The Times Mkhitaryan's move to Arsenal is necessary if Sanchez is to go the other way:

The United man has found himself on the fringes at Old Trafford for the majority of the season despite a blistering start to the campaign.

Mkhitaryan has showcased plenty of class, though. At his best, he brings so much to an attacking setup, as he's able to dribble, pass and score goals. Under Jose Mourinho at United, his assets in the final third have never been showcased on a consistent basis.

With the likes of Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford ahead of Mkhitaryan in the pecking order, a midseason move feels like a sensible step.

Journalist Colin Millar believes Sanchez and Mkhitaryan would each benefit from the swap deal:

Arguably, Arsenal are losing out in this trade, though, as they have a proven Premier League superstar in Sanchez.

Sanchez appears to be close to a United move.
Sanchez appears to be close to a United move.Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The Chilean has lit up English football since arriving in 2014, giving the Gunners vibrancy in the final third. His productivity in attack has been crucial for Arsene Wenger's side, and losing him to a longstanding rival would be a blow to the north London club.

Mkhitaryan could thrive under Wenger, though, as the Frenchman's football is based on intricate attacking play. The Armenian would be handed more freedom to influence matches, and that would be to his benefit in the long run.

Finding a replacement for Sanchez in January would be an impossible task for Arsenal, especially for a fee of £35 million. Mkhitaryan, provided he performs to his best, will go some way towards filling that void. However, Arsenal supporters will want to see further investments made in the playing staff.  

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