Ahead of our first chance to see Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Emiliano Francois Aubameyang for the first time at a home game, we take a look at our two new players, and bid them welcome.
Mkhitaryan’s childhood wasn’t an easy one. His father Hamlet, a former footballer himself, died at the age of 33 (brain tumor) when Henrikh was just seven. His family showed great courage after such a tragic event and Micki (nickname given by Jürgen Klopp) managed to make a great success both as a footballer and as a person. The fact his whole family is a football one – his mother worked with Armenian FA and his sister with UEFA – probably helped him a bit. He took a trip to Brazil without anyone else when he was only 13 where he upgraded his technical skills as well as his knowledge of Portuguese while training with Sao Paolo.
Speaking of languages, it is very important thing to say that Micki speaks seven (!) languages which makes him a bit like Arsene Wenger. He takes interest in the formal education as well which is another moment why Henrikh and Arsene are supposed to be match made in Heaven.
As a player, Micki has played against Arsenal for three different teams: Shakhtar Donetsk, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United. He scored the opener for Borussia Dortmund in their 2:1 victory at the Emirates in 2013-14 with a low shot just outside the box.
Micki’s technical ability and versatility almost match his exceptional linguistic skills. He can play across the midfield – as a right winger, a left winger or as a No. 10. I have a feeling we might even see him in the Cazorla role given his quickness and skill-set – ability to receive the ball, take it forward under the pressure and to find his team-mate with the precise pass using either foot. Mind you, Mesut Özil had his best season when he was aided by Santi Cazorla from the central midfield.
As we all know, Arsenal are his second club in England. His spell in Manchester United was short and rather unsuccessful, mostly because Micki is not used to be stuck in the parked bus for 90 minutes. He likes to play actual football which is considered as Eighth Mortal Sin in The Great Book of Jose Mourinho.
However, even from that ugly spell we can find three moments when Henrikh was allowed to show his true face. His first Premier League goal was the winner against Tiny Tots at Old Trafford, his scorpion kick against Sunderland (let’s forget for a second it should have been ruled out for offside) was a masterpiece and his goal secured a huge victory for Manchester United in the Europa League Final against Ajax.
As every player, Micki has a flaw. And, it’s literally a big one. Mino Raiola, Big Sam among the football agents, is the guy who took Micki to Mourinho’s custody at the first place. In fact, Raiola’s behaviour was so bad during that transfer that Watzke, president of Borussia Dortmund, was resolute that Micki would never return to Borussia Dortmund (unlike other prodigious sons of Borussia Dortmund such as Mario Götze, Shinji Kagawa and Nuri Sahin who have all returned to Borussia).
At the end of that transfer saga, Borussia Dortmund had to sell Micki to Manchester United given that Micki had had only year left on his contract and hadn’t been interested in signing a new contract. It seems to me that Arsenal have been reluctant to work with Raiola with Donyell Malen being the only Raiola player in Arsenal in the recent years (I might be wrong, feel free to correct me) and even Malen was sold last summer.
As pretty much every attacking player we have signed in the last few years, Micki is a huge fan of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal style of play. He expressed his fondness to our style of play while he was playing for Shakhtar and now he can actually participate in the ressurrection of Wengerball.
Don’t you feel excitement when you think of passing triangles between Micki, Jack and Mesut before they create a sitter for Aubameyang or Lacazette? If you don’t, what is wrong with you?!
Welcome, Henrikh, may you have a great stay beyond 2021 at Arsenal Football Club!
Pierre-Emerick Emiliano Francois Aubameyang is a Gabonese striker and the most expensive Arsenal signing ever. Borussia Dortmund have announced that he was sold for €63.75 million euros which translates roughly to £56 million pounds.
Just like his old pal Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang represents a relatively small football nation in terms of the international success (I almost put the “…just like Jack Wilshere doe”-part here but I decided not to) which means that, fortunately, he won’t spend next summer avoiding racist attacks at World Cup in Russia at which FIFA will once again turn their blind eye on.
Also, there is another thing that Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan have in common: both come from the football family. Aubameyang’s father Pierre Aubameyang is a former Gabon international player and a scout for AC Milan while his brothers Catilina and Willy have both played for the national team. All three sons of Pierre Aubameyang had played for AC Milan youth categories with Pierre-Emerick having by far the most successful career. It’s been reported that Pierre Aubameyang had instructed his son to join Arsenal due to his long admiration for Arsene Wenger which is probably just a coincidence as we all know Aubameyang Sr was probably mesmerized by that free-scoring George Graham’s Arsenal or by Bertie Mee’s Invincibles.
Pierre-Emerick (or PEA as he is usually referred to) won The African Footballer of the Year in 2015. If he had opted to play for Italy, France or Spain – he was eligible to play for any of those and even represented France at U19 level – he could have been The European Footballer of the Year. His mother is Spanish which is why he would like to play in Spain one day. I hope that won’t be the case and that he will score 100 goals or more for Arsenal in the next three-and-half years.
If you think I ask too much from him, let me remind you that he has scored 100 goals since the beginning of 2015-16 season. That’s 100 goals in two-and-half seasons or FORTY goals per season! And he is yet to play with Henrikh AND Mesut in the same team!
Also, here is a few more facts that make his Borussia Dortmund numbers even more impressive.
In 2013-14 and 2014-15 he scored “just” 41 goals. In 2013-14 he played mostly as a winger because Robert Lewandowski was still the main striker in the club. He still managed to score 16 goals in all competitions which was a pretty decent return for a winger. He had also played as a winger in 2014-15 until Klopp realized Aubameyang was the best central forward in the club. PEA scored a goal against Arsenal in a 2:0 victory in Dortmund. Fortunately, PEA prefers scoring goals against another English club.
As you might have read elsewhere, PEA has played against Tiny Tots four times. He has scored four goals and his fifth was disallowed wrongly for non-existing offside which should prepare him for the PGMO service. Whilst he has lost both encounters against Tiny Tots this season, it shouldn’t be a bad sign. After all, Alexis Sánchez has beaten Tiny Tots as an Arsenal player (and scored a goal in the process) before losing to them as a non-Arsenal player.
He also scored a goal at Anfield in the 4:3 defeat in 2015-16 Europa League match even if he and Micki gave Borussia Dortmund a 2:0 lead in the opening seven minutes of the game.
PEA’s main quality is pace. He’s been regarded as one of the quickest players in the world alongside Hector Bellerin. As for his finishing… Well, PEA has scored almost 150 goals since 2013. He prefers the ball in space which should be a feast for Mesut Özil and his through balls.
Welcome, Auba! May you earn your own statue like another guy who once wore No. 14 at Arsenal but if you do, please, don’t become a shit pundit!
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