Who Is Henrikh Mhkitaryan And Was Jose Mourinho Right To Sign Him For Manchester United?

Posted: August 17, 2016 in European Football, Football, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League
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He was born in Yerevan, capital of Armenia, in 1989. When Henrikh was seven years old his father died of a brain tumour at the age of 33.

Football certainly played a prominent part in his family life as his dad has been a striker for FC Ararat Yerevan during the 1980’s, his mother is the head of the national team department in the Armenian football federation and his sister, Monica, works at UEFA headquarters.

In the early 1990’s the family moved to France to escape the Armenian mafia, where Henrikh played for ASOA Valence and helped them gain promotion to Ligue 2. The club no longer exists.

In 1995 the family returned to Yerevan where Mhkitaryan joined the youth team at FC Pyunik. This led to him having trials with São Paulo in Brazil at the age of 14. He returned to Armenia, on the insistence of his manager at Pyunik, the same year. During his early years his favourite player was Zinedine Zidane.

He made his professional debut in 2006 at the age of 17 and last played for them in 2009. During his time there, the team won the Armenian title four times, the Super Cup twice and the Armenian Cup once. In total he played for the club 89 times scoring 35 goals.

He left to play in a stronger league in the Ukraine and, in 2009, signed for Metalurh Donetsk. He played in 46 matches for the club and scored 17 goals. He also had the distinction of becoming the club’s youngest ever captain at 17 years of age.

After two reasonably successful seasons he left to join the champions, Shakhtar Donetsk where he won the treble in his first season! The second season was a disappointment as he only won the double, missing out on the Super Cup this time around. In total he made 104 appearances for Shakhtar scoring 44 goals, 25 of which came in his prolific last season with the club.

Now was the time for a big money move and off he went to Borussia Dortmund. After much wrangling and disagreements a fee of €27.5 million was agreed and he became a Dortmund player.

Generally finishing runners-up to Bayern Munich, Mhkitaryan picked up his first trophy in his second season, when Dortmund won the DFL Supercup. At the end of his third season he was crowned “Players Player of the Year” thanks largely to his 15 assists, the most in the league that season.

In 2016, Henrikh Mhkitaryan became the first Armenian to play in the Premier League. He had signed a four year contract with Manchester United, which contained an option to extend for a further year. He made his debut in a pre-season match against Wigan Athletic.

He is certainly a cult figure in Armenia where he won the Armenian player of the year award five times and is the country’s all-time leading goalscorer. He has had as distinguished an international career as is possible bearing in mind that his country rarely qualifies for the big tournaments and yes, Jose Mourinho was right, yet again, to sign him for Manchester United.

If he can become a cult figure at Old Trafford he will enjoy a spectacular career and be adored by the fans, what more could he ask? That’s the hope anyway!


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