Big things were obviously expected of 27-year-old Henrikh Mkhitaryan when he first made his £26 million switch to Manchester United this summer. Alongside the likes of Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic down at Old Trafford this season, the quick-footed Armenian international supposedly represented something of an unrivalled coup for Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils, as they sought to re-establish their once untouchable dominance back among the English top-flight.
Since taking the heavy decision to depart Borussia Dortmund in the last available transfer window however, Mkhitaryan has barely featured under Mourinho thus far – despite being involved in over 40 goals last season for the formidable German outfit. Although Manchester United are clearly struggling right in the here and now, the former Shakhtar Donetsk favourite is yet to claim a place among the current Red Devils starting XI.
So then – must Henrikh Mkhitaryan simply look to move on before witnessing his once promising reputation irreversibly tarnished upon the Manchester United bench, or is there still hope for the former Bundesliga star down at Old Trafford yet this season?
Carrick, Schneiderlin and Fellaini bench options v Burnley but a 100% fit Mkhitaryan isn't? Something's up there, whatever nonsense Mou says
— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) 29 October 2016
Unonvinced it's about intensity with Mkhitaryan. Lingard gets back in after derby display & Rooney immediately back in after injury. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) 29 October 2016
Regardless of the attacking midfielder’s admittedly poor start to life among the English Premier League, Henrikh Mkhitaryan clearly remains a top player with bags of potential to make things happen inside the final third. Whilst it remains to be seen whether or not the 27-year-old Armenian international is in-fact truly cut out to make it among the often testing English game, surely it’s only a matter of time before the ex-Dortmund star finally begins to make his mark at Manchester United.
When playing to the very best of his abilities, Mkhitaryan is more than capable of producing the goods for his respective manager, playing colleagues and loyal supporters alike. Via a nice blend of direct movement when running at opposing defenders, incredibly quick-feet in tight situations as well as a keen eye for goal whenever played through in and around the box – this is one player who usually fails to disappoint all that much.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk man nonetheless failed to hit the ground running in outlandish style when he first opted to move to Dortmund in the summer of 2013. Anything can therefore still happen for Mkhitaryan in his quest to win over Jose Mourinho’s approval, as well as that of the determined Old Trafford faithful.
This isn’t the first instance in which Manchester United have failed to get the most out of one of their supposedly key performers, lest we forget. Angel Di Maria arrived in England under a great deal of hype and intense expectation, but he – along with Memphis Depay in the following season – ultimately failed to make the grade at Old Trafford in somewhat unceremonious fashion. Perhaps Mkhitaryan should have also conversed a little deeper with former Dortmund teammate, Shinji Kagawa, before following in the Japanese international’s footsteps and looking to test his skills among the demanding Red Devils.
Does Henrikh Mkhitaryan still have enough time to make a real name for himself at Manchester United? Of course he does. With Jose Mourinho’s team struggling as badly as they currently are among the English top-flight, the 53-year-old Portuguese tactician will simply have to turn to his summer recruit from Borussia Dortmund in the not too distant future, before the fans truly run out of patience with everything that has so far gone wrong with the Red Devils this season.