Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s agent, Mino Raiola, has explained how the Armenian has changed since moving to Manchester United over the summer, pointing towards a greater level of aggression present in his game.
The 27-year-old, who joined the club in July, endured a difficult two month spell of anonymity under Jose Mourinho after struggling during Man United’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City back in September.
However, Mkhitaryan made a sensational return to action against Fenerbahce in late November and went on to produce a series of spellbinding performances.
Raiola, speaking earlier this week, heaped praise on his client in light of what has been a monumental resurgence at United.
“He showed his class in Germany,” he said.
“But now I see a more aggressive, determined player than in Germany. Now he has this aggressiveness that the Premier League needs.
“I knew Micki could come in and be one of the best in the Premier League. He showed that in Ukraine, in Germany.
“I see that now Manchester United is coming together. It is getting balanced.”
Mkhitaryan did not, like most assumed, sit around sulking during his long spell on the sidelines under Mourinho. His woeful performance against Man City revealed that, for all his brilliance, English football’s greater emphasis on power and tenacity was a problem he didn’t expect, and something he clearly struggled to cope with.
And so he worked tirelessly, session after session, looking to align his game with the Premier League’s lofty standards. He would watch from the stands and not sigh, wondering why he left Borussia Dortmund – a Champions League club – for this, but instead inspect the minutiae of each game, looking for ways to improve.
Upon his return, you could tell that something was different: he was quicker, bolder, more aware, adept at skipping past crunching tackles and body-checks. Mkhitaryan, in his spell away from the first team, learnt how to thrive in this kind of climate, and the result is a sight to behold.