Hans-Joachim Watzke reveals how Jose Mourinho persuaded him to see Henrikh Mkhitaryan

by Leo Nieboer

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watze has revealed how Jose Mourinho persuaded him to give Henrikh Mkhitaryan the green light ahead of his move to Manchester United.

The Armenian was an effervescent force for Dortmund throughout the 2015/16 campaign, scoring 23 goals and registering 31 assists before completing a £30m move to Man United in early July.

Watze was initially strongly opposed to letting such an important player leave Dortmund this summer.

However, speaking to SportBild, Watze shed light on a conversation with Mourinho that caused him to change his mind.

“Of course we have personally talked about it,” he said, “and for me a remarkable statement by Jose remained hanging, about which I have been thinking a lot.

“He said: At the end you decide. And no matter how the thing goes – the important thing is that our friendship does not suffer. Because there are many more good players than good friends. He’s absolutely right.”

In a world where transfers often cause friction between clubs, this is a fantastic example of respect and cordiality from Mourinho. Convincing the CEO of any cooperation – whether it be football related or not – to change their mind in such an overwhelming way is extremely rare, and sheds light on the 53-year-old’s candidness and experience in landing big names.

Capturing the Bundesliga’s player of the season is a huge step in solving the creative issues that plagued the side for long periods of last season. And that phone call could prove to be crucial catalyst for a long and fruitful spell at Old Trafford for the 27-year-old.

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