Cape Town - Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan has explained his decision to join Roma on loan, saying a lack of playing time at the Emirates was a key factor.
The 30-year-old played for Arsenal during the second half of the 2-2 draw with arch-rivals Tottenham on Sunday, but just 24 hours later he was on his way to join Italian Serie A side Roma.
The former Borussia Dortmund forward had started just one of Arsenal’s opening four Premier League games, and it was clear that regular starts would be few and far between for him this season.
With that in mind, the Armenian international jumped at the opportunity to head to Rome, where he will spend the season on loan.
Mkhitaryan will get the first-team football that he craves in a Roma side that will be pushing for Champions League football this season, and that is what he needs at this stage of his career.
The switch happened quickly just before the European transfer window closed, but there was no hesitation on the player's part.
"Everything happened in the last day right after the Tottenham game I got a call from my agent," he revealed. "He told me that I have to fly to Rome the next day to have a medical with the team and also sign a contract.
"It is a great opportunity for me as I didn't get a lot of playing time."
It remains to be seen what the long-term future holds for the playmaker, who still has two years remaining on his contract at the Emirates Stadium.
As things stand there is no option to make the deal with Roma permanent, but that could change depending on how he performs at the Stadio Olimpico in the campaign ahead.
Then there is the chance a season of regular football will do him the world of good and he will return to the Emirates ready to battle for his place next season. But as things stand he does not appear to be in the plans of Unai Emery and his future is likely to be elsewhere, whether that be with Roma or someone else.
Mkhitaryan arrived at the Emirates from Manchester United as part of the swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move the other way, and Arsenal definitely got the better of that move.
He made 29 appearances in 18 months scoring nine goals in all competitions, while Sanchez struggled at Old Trafford and departed for Inter Milan this summer.
- TeamTalk Media