Bengaluru, Jan 6: Arsenal are in talks with AS Roma over a deal for Henrikh Mkhitaryan but reportedly have declined the opening offer to make the loan move permanent.
There are a number of Arsenal players on loan to different sides but Mkhitaryan probably is the biggest name among all of them. After struggling to make an impact last season under Unai Emery he was loaned out to Roma for a full season this year.
Although he has struggled with injury during his time in the Italian capital but has done enough in his 10 appearances in all competitions to prove manager Paulo Fonseca that he wants to keep Mkhitaryan on a permanent deal.
With the Armenian only having one year left in his deal, the Italian outfit thought about signing him on the cheap and had reportedly offered just £8.5m for his services. But as per the latest reports, the Gunners have turned it down promptly.
Can he have a future under Arteta?
Arteta has already convinced one of their troubled stars, Xhaka to remain at Emirates and recently the performance of star playmaker Ozil too seem to have improved.
This along with the rejection of the latest bid dawned a view that Arteta may hand Mkhitaryan a lifeline again. However, as per reports, it is not the case. Arsenal apparently only rejected the initial offer because they are willing to hold him out for a bigger offer, acknowledging the current bid as below the player's value.
Negotiations are still ongoing and a deal is still expected to be reached with the former Dortmund man wanting to stay with the Serie A side rather than return to London.
Moreover, Arteta would be eager to make the deal permanent as he won't be getting a big kitty in the January window. Arsenal are likely to invest on a new defender in January and they would want to cash in on the players who don't have a future at Emirates. Mkhitaryan's permanent sale to Roma could come into the fray with these aspects and any amount in the region of £15m could approve a sale.
Arsenal already have several attacking options in the side with Nelson, Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli and Ozil in the pecking order and it's tough to imagine Arteta preferring Mkhitaryan instead of the current lot.
At Roma, he would surely get more game time and Serie A could more suit him due to lack of speed, the sheer physicality. Mkhitaryan would get the time to prove his mettle over there again while Arsenal would get the required fee that would boost their squad. Surely, it's a win-win for the side given the current circumstances.