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2020-04-29

I want Mkhitaryan to stay in Roma' - Fonseca describes midfielder Arsenal as a 'great player'

Image:-Mkhitaryan

The Giallorossi boss is keen to retain the Armenian playmaker's services beyond the end of the current season, Roma boss Paulo Fonseca expressed his desire to sign a permanent deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, outlining plans to speak to Arsenal at the end of the loan spell of the midfielder at Stadio Olimpico.

Mkhitaryan joined Arsenal in an exchange deal in January 2018 that saw Alexis Sanchez move to Manchester United. During his first season-and-a-half with the Gunners, the 31-year-old scored nine goals in 59 appearances but was ultimately deemed surplus to requirements ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

Roma snapped Armenia internationally on a season-long loan deal back in September, and he has since managed to rediscover the kind of form that saw him emerge earlier in his career at Borussia Dortmund as one of the hottest properties in Europe.

In 20 matches across all competitions, Mkhitaryan has contributed six goals and four assists to the cause of Roma, helping them challenge a top four finish in Series A while reaching the final stages of the Europa League.

Arsenal has been reported to sanction the permanent departure of the experienced playmaker if its £22 million ($27 m) valuation is met this summer, with the Giallorossi expected to submit a formal offer.

Fonseca has described Mkhitaryan as a "great player," and he's confident the Arsenal outcast wants to stay in Italy instead of returning to Emirates Stadium.

"I want him to stay and he also wants to stay," Russian TV show Great Football told the Roma head coach. "Nevertheless, it should be clear that everything is on hiatus now and we will have to talk to Arsenal.

"I want to continue working with him because he's a great player and a great man." FIFA has announced plans to extend player contracts that are due to expire at the end of June until the end of the current season, with all major leagues across Europe still on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic for the time being.

If it is safe for football to resume in the coming weeks, Mkhitaryan could stay at Roma through August, with Serie A clubs set to return to small group training on May 14.

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