Arsene Wenger is confident that Henrikh Mkhitaryan's versatility will make him a success at Arsenal and believes the former Manchester United midfielder can successfully coexist in the same team as fellow playmaker Mesut Ozil.
After weeks of non-stop speculation and no shortage of anxious waiting, Mkhitaryan was finally unveiled as the Gunners' second January signing on Monday evening (22 January) on a three-and-a-half-year contract as part of a high-profile swap deal that also saw star forward Alexis Sanchez depart for Old Trafford.
"We lose a world-class player and we gain a world-class player," Wenger said of the move in a press conference held before the Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg clash with Chelsea on Wednesday [24 January] evening, per football.london.
"How efficient will that be? That will be down to the performances of both players. Mkhitaryan has the qualities to integrate into our game and that is based a lot on movement and technical quietly.
"I think he has the attributes, a good team attitude as well and I'm confident that it will work. He can play in all kinds of positions - on the flanks and he can play through the middle as well. I think he's very versatile and it should help us to be very efficient going forward"
Asked if Mkhitaryan could play alongside Ozil, who may follow fellow contract rebel Sanchez out of the Emirates Stadium when his current deal expires at the end of the season, he added: "They can play together as well, of course."
Mkhitaryan could soon be joined by a familiar face at Arsenal, with negotiations ongoing over a potential transfer that would reunite the Armenian captain with former Borussia Dortmund teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
"You look at players, what are their qualities, what can they give to the team," Wenger said about possible pairing the duo together again in north London. "Good players can always play together."
No Mkhitaryan concerns
Wenger inevitably faced a slew of further questions on that aforementioned swap deal - the kind he believes may become more common with prices so high in the current transfer market - before the visit of Chelsea, also insisting that he harbours no concerns over the attitude, commitment and desire of Mkhitaryan.
The Frenchman again spoke of the importance of the financial aspect of the switch from Sanchez's perspective and claimed that he was not worried by the prospect of Arsenal being known as a selling club. He provided assurances that they were doing everything they can financially to keep up with Europe's big-spenders despite stadium-related financial restrictions and also encouraged focus on youth work rather than just money.
Wenger did not want to address suggestions that Sanchez virtually agreed a deal to stay at Arsenal 12 months ago, but did reiterate that the former Barcelona star remained committed throughout all of the recent speculation - as evidenced by the fact that he was originally supposed to act as the team's 19th man for the 4-1 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
"I don't want to go back on history of negotiations," he said. "Sanchez is a great guy who has always been committed. Whether negotiations go well or not well, it has never affected him.
"That I took him to the hotel the night before the Palace game and he was completely focused and ready to play the next day, until I told him you can go home, the deal is over the line. No matter how the negotiations went he was always focused on football."