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‘Arsenal should sell Mkhitaryan before windows close’ – Emery doesn’t need Armenian, says Winterburn

4:30 PM GMT+8 16/08/2019
Henrikh Mkhitaryan Arsenal 2019-20
The ex-Gunners defender believes there are now better options available at Emirates Stadium than a former Manchester United and Dortmund playmaker

Arsenal should be looking to “sell Henrikh Mkhitaryan to a European team this transfer window”, claims Nigel Winterburn.

Armenia international playmaker Mkhitaryan has spent less than two years on the books at Emirates Stadium.

He arrived in north London as part of a trade agreement which took Alexis Sanchez in the opposite direction to Manchester United, but both parties in that deal have struggled in new surroundings.

Like Sanchez, Mkhitaryan is now being linked with moves away from English football, with transfer windows still open across Europe.

Winterburn believes a switch could be best for all concerned, with the former Gunners defender telling Sportingbet: “Arsenal should look to sell Mkhitaryan to a European team this transfer window.

“When everyone is back fit for Arsenal, Mkhitaryan is going to struggle to get any game time at all during the season.

“Mkhitaryan looks a frustrated figure, nothing seems to be working out for him on the pitch – his passes are misplaced, his shooting is off and he can’t beat his man.

“His performance against Newcastle on the opening game of the season wasn’t good enough, especially when you’re playing at the highest level.

“No doubt, Mkhitaryan is a talented player but he’s going to struggle to hold down a regular position when everybody’s fit.”

Arsenal have plenty of other creative options at their disposal, with more having been drafted in over the summer, and there is now fierce competition for places.

Another of those hoping to see regular game time is Mesut Ozil, with Winterburn saying of a World Cup winner who continues to divide opinion: “With the quality that Arsenal’s attacking options, Ozil isn’t guaranteed to start week in week out for the club.

“We didn’t see the real Ozil last season, perhaps he couldn’t adapt to the intensity of Unai Emery’s training sessions but we were limited to cameo performances scattered across the season.

“To get the best out of Ozil, he needs to start in the Number 10 position, he is wasted out wide. He needs to be given the freedom where he can make those killer passes in the areas that he can make a difference.

“There is no doubt that when Ozil is on top form he is a brilliant player – he just doesn’t show this consistently.

“This season, Ozil now has other players in the squad that can challenge him. The likes of [Dani] Cabellos and [Joe] Willock will be pushing for that starting position and Emery is going to have a real headache squeezing in all that talent – it’ll be fascinating to see what Emery does.

“What’s certain is that Emery is a big personality and isn’t afraid to make big decisions even if that means dropping Ozil from the starting 11.”

With Ozil no longer considered to be the main man for Arsenal, Winterburn claims that mantle has been passed to a free-scoring frontman.

He added: “Without a shadow of a doubt, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang will be Arsenal’s most important player this season.

“You saw from the Newcastle game, he had very few opportunities to score but the one real opportunity that he got, his composure and finishing was perfect.

“If he stays fit, he’s going to have a huge season again for Arsenal, and will certainly be challenging for the Golden Boot again.

“It gives the team a huge lift when you know you’ve got a goal-scorer in your team. He is similar to Ian Wright in that sense.

“As a team, we knew that if you can keep a clean sheet, then Wrighty will usually pop up with a goal. Aubameyang is looking like that at the moment for this current side, which is great for the club.”