Sunday 19 November 2017

Are Manchester United about to hijack Arsenal's pursuit of Henrikh Mkhitaryan?

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rejected a contract extension from Borussia Dortmund. Getty
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rejected a contract extension from Borussia Dortmund. Getty

Jack De Menezes

Arsenal are facing competition from Manchester United in the battle to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with the Bundesliga club willing to let one of their prize assets leave for £25m.

Armenia international Mkhitaryan has refused to sign a new contract with Dortmund, with the German league runners-up deciding to sell the attacking midfielder this summer should a bid meet their valuation of the player. Rather than risk lose him for nothing next summer, Dortmund will instead let him leave providing they receive a £25m offer, with Arsenal reported to be leading the race to sign Mkhitaryan.

But according to the Daily Mail, the Gunners will now face competition from Premier League rivals United, while Liverpool and Juventus also remain in the picture. United have already made their first signing of the summer in the £30m former Villarreal defender Eric Bailly, and The Independent understands that the move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be completed once his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires at the end of the month.

Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic share the same agent in Mino Raiola, the man who paved the way for Paul Pogba to leave United in 2012 and join Juventus after running down the Frenchman’s contract. United received just £800,000 in compensation for Pogba’s departure, and with interest in bringing the midfielder back to Old Trafford, could face shelling out up to £78m for his signature.

Arsenal remain the bookmakers’ favourites to sign Mkhitaryan should he leave Dortmund, although Raiola insisted that no decision had been made and did not rule out the Armenian extending his contract at some point next season, should he remain at the German club.

"Why would we sign a contract renewal now?" Raiola told German newspaper Bild last week.

Independent News Service

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