Imagine, in the summer, being told that your club was signing the player crowned the best in the Bundesliga. And that he never played for the champions, Bayern. He registered double figures in both goals and assists, and is credited as one of the most intelligent and lethal players in the game. He scored goals in Europe and domestically last season, and set up even more.
You’d be pretty happy, wouldn’t you?
Just about any club on the planet would take a player with the skillset and classy style of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. All except Jose Mourinho, who apparently headhunted and then proceeded to shun the Armenian from his failing Manchester United project.
You could understand if Miki missed out because other players were playing so well. They aren’t. United are a shambles, a shadow of the attacking force that they once were. Maybe it’s due to the management playing out-of-form players like Rooney or middling jobbers like Jesse Lingard ahead of him?
A Waste of Talent
When you play exciting players you tend to score goals – shock, that. So when a dour and dull United side bought Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba in the summer, it seemed like creativity and spark was returning to Old Trafford.
Pogba has so far played like he does in his eight million adverts – the odd flash here, nothing else – whilst Mkhitaryan probably is beginning to become half-man, half-bench. Given half an hour to save a stinking performance in Turkey against a solid Fenerbahce side, Mourinho was his usual scathing self of the Armenian.
Staying that “He has to do more.” Mourinho was happy to put the blame for not being in the team on the player. How, though, can you do more when you are only given what increasingly feels like loaded gun performances to get a chance?
He made his debut out of position against a wonderfully exciting Manchester City side. United were dominated in the first-half, and Mkhitaryan was the scapegoat. He’s barely kicked a ball since, with Mourinho giving more and more guarded answers as to why. He was put on against Fener in a side that couldn’t get a draw in training, nevermind in Turkey.
The Unsolved Issue
It begins to increasingly feel like something else is going on with this signing. When your team lacks creativity and you have one of the most cerebral players active today on the bench, it creates needless drama and problems for the team.
Mourinho has created a situation with Mkhitaryan that probably cannot be solved now. He’s too stubborn to give up and give the boy a true chance, and the midfielder probably wants to move on – why wouldn’t you?
He had his pick of teams and could have stayed the creative hub of a wonderful Dortmund side. It’s only now that it seems such a foolish decision – only when you see how Mourinho likes to turn on players does this become an issue.
For his own sake, Mkhitaryan should become the latest big-money flop at United – it’s better than wasting away his rare talents.