Arsenal and Chelsea have been handed a massive boost in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan after his agent Mino Raiola admitted that they are considering his future options after rejecting an offer of a new contract from the German club. The Armenian midfielder, who was voted the best outfield player in the Bundesliga last season, is entering the final year of his contract making him an attractive proposition for interested clubs.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder had an outstanding campaign under Thomas Tuchel, scoring 23 goals and providing an eye-watering 32 assists in 52 appearances in all competitions and Arsene Wenger, who is looking to strengthen his midfield following the departures of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini has been linked with a summer move. He has already begun his rebuild with the signing of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach.
According to the Guardian, the Gunners sent scouts during the recently concluded season to monitor his progress, while also assessing him via a number of video clips. The north London club will be boosted by his agent's comments and will also hold a slight advantage in negotiations owing to the midfielder entering the final year of his contract with Dortmund.
"Why would we sign a contract renewal now?" Raiola told German newspaper Bild, as quoted by the Independent.
"Micki has a contract until June 2017 and we are looking at his options for the future," the Armenian midfielder's agent added.
Mkhitaryan's future at the club is also reportedly linked with that of Tuchel's after the midfielder credited the former Mainz manager with improving the mental side of his game. But the coach, who only joined last summer, is unlikely to depart the club after leading them to the second place in the league and the final of the DFB-Pokal cup.
"I'm very thankful to him - he changed the way I think," Mkhitaryan said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.