With the inevitable departure of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United confirmed as of Monday night, it is now time for Arsenal to collectively replace the void left by their most creative and hardworking asset.
Despite some attitude problems and off the field tensions throughout this first half of this season, no Arsenal fan can deny the immense contribution of Alexis Sanchez at his time at the club. The Chilean forward has scored 80 goals in 166 appearances since his £35m move from Barcelona in July 2014, and played a critical part in helping Arsenal win two FA Cups by scoring in both semi finals and finals in each of those two campaigns. Now the time has come for Arsenal to fill the gaping void that Alexis Sanchez will leave behind…Embed from Getty Images
One player that seems destined to join the Gunners as part of the Sanchez deal is Armenian attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Although somewhat overlooked by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, Mkhitaryan does indeed possess bundles of creativity. This was no better exemplified than during his final season at Borussia Dortmund, where the Armenian incredibly scored 23 goals and assisted 32 in all competitions. Unsurprisingly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan won the Bundesliga Player of the Year that season.
But should Arsenal fans be worried about Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s less than convincing spell at Manchester United? Perhaps, or perhaps it was simply a case of Mkhitaryan not quite fitting into Mourinho’s style of play. Maybe, under a more expansive, attack-minded regime at Arsenal, Mkhitaryan could flourish. The acquisition of the Armenian all time record goal scorer following Alexis Sanchez’s departure would also ease the burden on Mesut Özil as being the sole creator of Arsenal’s attacks.
Another player who has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal this transfer window is the ever-eccentric Gabon striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Dortmund forward has not been short of disciplinary issues off the pitch, having been dropped 3 times in the past 12 months by the Bundesliga club. However, with an impressive goal scoring record of 69 goals in his last 78 Bundesliga matches, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has propelled himself into one of Europe’s most fearsome strikers.Embed from Getty Images
His electric pace combined with the vision of Mesut Özil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan is enough to have any premier league defence quaking in their boots. A strike partnership with fellow French-speaking forward Alexandre Lacazette, who just recently ended his goal drought, is also a frightening prospect but one which will surely excite Arsenal fans in a time of otherwise insipid mediocrity at the Emirates Stadium.
A reunion of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal will surely ease the pain of Alexis Sanchez’s departure to rivals Manchester United, but where these players fit into a starting XI is another matter for Arsene Wenger to decide. These signings by no means solve Arsenal’s seemingly endless defensive problems, but at a club of diminishing world-class power they do at least begin the process of creating a squad for the future, perhaps a future without Arsene Wenger at the helm.
Written by Lukas Jennings.