A report from ESPN has suggested that Arsenal are interested in signing either Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Riyad Mahrez. The American sports news outlet has also claimed that the Gunners are prioritizing the Borussia Dortmund forward over Leicester City’s Mahrez. Before delving into opinions and statistics in deciding which player the north London club should go with, it should be first noted that Arsenal, or any other club in the world, would be receiving a fantastic player regardless of whether they chose Mkhitaryan or Mahrez. You can’t really go wrong with either winger.
Both of the aforementioned stars had truly special 2015/16 seasons with their respective clubs. Mkhitaryan, a 27-year-old Armenia international, racked up an astounding 23 goals and 32 assists in 52 total matches for Dortmund according to Transfermarkt. The tricky right winger was voted (unanimously) into the Bundesliga Team of the Year, and was also the German league’s Players’ Player of the Season as well.
The former Shakhtar Donetsk player made the switch to the German outfit in 2013 for around £21 million. During his three seasons at Dortmund, Mkhitaryan has netted an impressive, especially for a wide player, 40 total goals. Although he is certainly worth more than the £20-25 million fee that is being reported, Mkhitaryan only has one more year remaining on his current contract with Dortmund. Because the player has not agreed to extend his deal, the prestigious German club can either sell him at a discounted rate, or risk losing him on a free next summer (something that Dortmund have endured previously with superstar striker Robert Lewandowski).
Like Mkhitaryan, Mahrez also picked up some silverware for the 2015/16 season. The 25-year-old Algeria international was not only voted into the Premier League PFA Team of the Year, but he was also named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the PFA Fans’ Player of the Year as well. Mahrez, however, won something that Mkhitaryan did not this past season: a league title. The Leicester winger was absolutely crucial in the club’s monumental Premier League title (the team’s only first division championship in their 132 years as a professional club).
Mahrez netted 18 goals and 10 assists in 39 total matches with the Foxes during the 2015/16 campaign. While Mkhitaryan was a fairly expensive signing for his current club, Mahrez cost Leicester City just £375,000 in January of 2014. This nominal fee, however, is nowhere near the price that clubs would have to pay for the winger this summer. Mahrez is a creative and pacey player with extremely valuable Premier League experience. If you’re a Premier League club in need of a winger, you know what you’re getting with Mahrez.
Statistically speaking, Mkhitaryan appears to have the edge over Mahrez (despite the Dortmund winger playing nearly 500 minutes less than the Leicester City.
Mkhitaryan vs. Mahrez
Mkhitaryan – 11
Mahrez – 17
Mkhitaryan – 15
Mahrez – 11
Mkhitaryan – 67
Mahrez – 56
Mkhitaryan – 82
Mahrez – 67
Mkhitaryan – 75%
Mahrez – 74%
Successful Take Ons
Mkhitaryan – 62%
Mahrez – 56%
(Statistics are provided by Squawka.com and are during league play)
It is also worth noting that Mahrez would most likely cost Arsenal (or any other club) more money than Mkhitaryan. This could prove to be the most important factor in which player Gunners manager Arsene Wenger attempts to sign first. Nevertheless, there will be some happy fans in north London should the Frenchman collect either Mkhitaryan or Mahrez this summer.
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