Former Manchester United forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan has spoken out about his departure in the January transfer window as part of a swap deal involving wantaway Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez.
After a fine start to the 2017-18 season at Old Trafford, during which he provided five assists in the first three Premier League games, Mkhitaryan was bizarrely frozen out by the man who signed him in 2016, Jose Mourinho.
And with Mourinho desperate to snatch Alexis from Manchester City’s grasp, the United manager reportedly offered Mkhitaryan as part of a straight-swap for the Chilean at the start of the new year.
A week later, Mkhitaryan was unveiled as an Arsenal player, but the former denies that he was used in a swap deal.
“I didn’t come here to replace anyone,” Mkhitaryan told FourFourTwo. “Everyone keeps saying that I’ve been part of a deal for Alexis Sanchez but it’s not true because he was running down his contract.”
“If he didn’t choose to come to Manchester United, he would have stayed at Arsenal until the summer. We’re different players, we’re different characters, we have different abilities and skills.”
Both players have made similar starts to life at their new clubs; Mkhitaryan has scored twice – including an equaliser on his first return to Old Trafford – and provided four assists in 10 games, one more assist than Alexis.
“Everything was up to me. I’m not saying I was important in this aspect but I want everyone to understand I wasn’t made part of the deal for Alexis Sanchez.”