Jose Mourinho all but confirmed Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s move to Manchester United during his first press conference as Red Devils boss yesterday, in a slip up that will have surely excited the Old Trafford faithful.
Turning to his PR assistant, before responding to one of many questions, he asked: “The third player is already official, or not yet?”
To which she replied: “No.”
Continuing, the new Reds boss said: “The new signing will be official, when?”
“Soon,” she stated.
It can only be assumed that this ‘new signing’ is Borussia Dortmund’s Mkhitaryan, who is expected to complete a move to Old Trafford, before the end of the current working week.
Mkhitaryan has been at Dortmund for three years, and after a difficult first two seasons with the German outfit, last term he was finally able to find his feet, with displays that have ultimately led to a move to Manchester United.
The Armenian international enjoyed 15 assists in the league throughout the previous campaign and was named Bundesliga’s players’ player of the campaign, in what proved to be an excellent turn around in form.
It is this resolve and willingness to improve that will see him be a huge success at Old Trafford under Mourinho. Hopefully he will not have the same trouble adapting to live in England, and as he finds his groove in the team, he will move from strength to strength.
The Armenian’s arrival is a very exciting prospect for United fans, with many believing he will be the most influential signing of the Premier League transfer window. His creative prowess will make him a key figure for the club, especially with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing ahead of him.
Meanwhile, Manchester City new boy Ilkay Gundogan says he was “close” to joining rivals United last summer.
The German midfielder joined Pep Guardiola’s at the Etihad for £20million this summer, but if things had been different he could have been lining up for Jose Mourinho ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign.
“Maybe last year it was close,” Gundogan told Sport360, “but not everything happened like I wanted it to. Maybe it was not the right moment and at the end we decided to stay and renew my contract, to extend for one more year.”
The ball-playing midfielder would have been Louis van Gaal’s perfect player in the centre of the park, and the ideal long-term replacement for 33-year-old Michael Carrick, who has himself recently signed a new contract at Old Trafford.
He joins City under Pep Guardiola in a move that is likely to see him thrive as a Premier League player, with the Spanish head coach opting for a system that relies on his player’s ability to read the game and dictate the game from start to finish.
Gundogan made 25 appearances in the Bundesliga last season, scoring one goal and laying on three assists for his Dortmund team-mates. Throughout this time he displayed his composure in possession, completing 87.5% of his attempted passes and 2.2 take ons per game.
He is a player who would have quickly become a favourite of Jose Mourinho, who witnessed Gundogan’s ability first-hand during his performances against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals in 2013.
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