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Mkhitaryan: I was no Alexis makeweight for Man Utd

11:33 BST 12/05/2018
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsenal
The Armenian playmaker swapped Old Trafford for Emirates Stadium in January, with a Chile international forward heading in the opposite direction

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has rubbished any suggestion that he was a makeweight in a high-profile swap deal which saw him and Alexis Sanchez trade places at Arsenal and Manchester United.

With a Chilean forward running down his contract at Emirates Stadium, a January move was always on the cards.

Jose Mourinho eventually won the race for his signature, with United fending off arch-rivals Manchester City in pursuit of a much sought-after talent.

The Red Devils sweetened the deal by allowing Mkhitaryan to move in the opposite direction, but the Armenia international insists he held as much weight in that agreement as the man he succeeded in north London.

“I didn’t come here to replace anyone,” the 29-year-old playmaker 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.

“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.

“We’re different players, we’re different characters, we have different abilities and skills.”

Mkhitaryan was happy to head for the exits at Old Trafford after falling out of favour under Mourinho.

He has stated on a regular basis since leaving Manchester that he needed to move on in order to find a club that trusted him and shared his footballing philosophies.

Arsenal are considered to be the perfect fit, with Mkhitaryan reiterating his happiness in new surroundings.

“When I heard I could swap Manchester United for Arsenal, I said ‘yes I want to do that’.

“I wasn’t evening thinking twice or thinking that maybe I don’t have to go. I said ‘no I want to go. I want to have more playing time. I want to enjoy playing attacking, offensive football’. I made the right decision coming here.”