Arsene Wenger: Henrikh Mkhitaryan left Manchester United due to lack of time on the pitch

by Leo Nieboer

Arsene Wenger has noted that Henrikh Mkhitaryan was forced to leave Manchester United after falling down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho.

The Armenian begun the 2017/18 campaign brightly, claiming five assists in his first three games, but his form quickly nosedived and he found himself dropped from the starting XI in November.

As a result, Mkhitaryan agreed to join Arsenal in a swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez and officially moved to the Emirates on Monday.

And Wenger, reflecting on his new signing, admitted that the competition for places at Old Trafford became too much for the 29-year-old.

“I have no doubt about his attitude,” Wenger said. “He suffered a bit with the competition he had there.”

“That his challenge and my challenge to get that out here.”

Mkhitaryan noted that it was a “dream” to play for Arsenal but his sadness at having failed to deliver under Mourinho is clear. He was reportedly in tears as he said goodbye to his teammates at Carrington and feels aggrieved at how this entire move was thrusted upon him.

He was always a player we wanted to see do well. This is somebody who came from a unusual background – born in the Soviet Union, father dying when he was just six, spending three months in Brazil, moving to Shakhtar Donetsk – and helped United to Europa League glory.

That talent was always bubbling under the surface. On his day he was mesmerising. But for a club with such high standards those days just didn’t come around often enough.

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