Arsenal have “been handed a pot of gold in Henrikh Mkhitaryan”, says Martin Keown, but Alexis Sanchez’s exit still raises concerns.
The Gunners reluctantly resigned themselves to the fact that the Chilean forward would be heading through the exits during the January transfer window, with it clear that no contract extension would be signed.
They have been able to counter that blow by landing Mkhitaryan from Manchester United in a swap deal , with Arsene Wenger ensuring that his creativity department has not been depleted.
Keown believes that agreement makes sense for all concerned , with Arsenal having acquired a player who can slot seamlessly into a ball-playing outfit.
The former Gunners defender said in the Daily Mail : “Arsene Wenger may have been handed a pot of gold in Mkhitaryan. Wenger will definitely get the best from him.
“Wenger seems to create a different environment to Jose Mourinho. Watching Mkhitaryan and Luke Shaw for Manchester United recently, I felt sorry for them. They did not appreciate Mourinho’s style.
“Wenger will focus on what Mkhitaryan can do. The player will be coming in with a point to prove. “Mourinho does not always get it right with players. Look at Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah. They have been two of the best players in the Premier League this season and both were let go by Mourinho at Chelsea.
“Mkhitaryan is coming in with a point to prove and if he can make it work, this will have been a successful transfer window for Wenger.”
Arsenal still have the opportunity to make the winter window even more successful, with Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still in their sights despite struggles to reach an agreement.
There are, however, other issues still to be resolved, with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere yet to commit to fresh terms as contract issues continue to cast an unwelcome shadow over Emirates Stadium.
Keown added: “Arsenal have lost a top player in Alexis Sanchez. But the uncertainty surrounding the futures of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil has created a negativity around the club.
“Arsenal have had two years of uncertainty over whether Arsene Wenger will stay, and now it has been the same with these two players.
“I do not see this happening at other clubs. This week, Manchester City quickly tied Kevin De Bruyne down to a new, five-year deal.
“If Sanchez had clearly made up his mind that he wanted to leave long ago, why did the decision makers at the top of the club not realise that sooner?
“In the summer, Arsenal could have got £60 million for Sanchez. The arrival of Henrikh Mkhitaryan now has at least allowed them to get something from the deal.
“While I hope we are proved wrong, I think Ozil will leave this summer. It feels like Arsenal have been dictated to by these players for too long. In the future, this situation cannot be allowed to happen again at Arsenal.
“I feel sorry for the other players in the dressing room who have had to deal with this going on around them.”