Sunday 25 March 2018

Arsenal target Henrikh Mkhitaryan 'put up for sale' by Dortmund as midfielder rejects contract

Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Jack De Menezes

Arsenal have been handed a fresh boost in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan after his refusal to agree a new contract led the Bundesliga club to decide to cash in on the Armenia international.

The Gunners are keeping a close eye on the 27-year-old, who has just one year remaining on his contract, and his determination to include a release clause in any new contract appears certain to bring an end to his three-year stay at the Signul Iduna Park.

Dortmund are refusing to entertain such a clause after seeing both Mario Götze and Mats Hummels leave for Bayern Munich after having their contract buy-out clause activated, with the former leaving the club after the 2013 Champions League final between the two clubs and latter returning to Bayern this season after eight years with Dortmund.

According to The Mirror, Arsenal are interested in signing Mkhitaryan and could try to beat off competition from Chelsea and Tottenham by lodging an early bid for the attacking midfielder, though a move for Mkhitaryan could depend on the outcome of their pursuit of Leicester striker Jamie Vardy.

Having scored 23 goals in all competitions, Mkhitaryan has impressed throughout the 2015/16 season and was a key reason why Dortmund finished runners-up in the Bundesliga and German Cup and reached the Europa League quarter-finals, only to lose out to Liverpool after a stunning comeback from Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Mkhitaryan’s uncertain future first came to light when he rejected a contract extension offer from Dortmund at the end of last month, with his agent, Mino Raiola, speaking to German media to admit that they were weighing up the former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder’s options.

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

"Micki has a contract until June 2017 and we are looking at his options for the future."

Dortmund are believed to be ready to sell the Armenian this summer rather than risk losing another player on a free transfer, having seen star striker Robert Lewandowski leave the club in 2014 for nothing – also to join Bayern – after running down his contract.

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