Raiola, Zlatan wade into Mkhitaryan and Arsenal controversy

Mino Raiola has branded claims that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has told Arsenal to sell him to Roma as ‘fake news’.

Mkhitaryan joined Roma on loan in September and the Italian club are thought to want to make both his and Chris Smalling’s moves permanent.

Speaking publicly about his future in March, the Armenian suggested a return to Arsenal was possible as “football changes so quickly” and because Unai Emery is no longer in charge, basically.

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But Corriere dello Sport claimed that Mkhitaryan had told the Gunners to sell him to Roma this summer as he had settled in the Italian capital.

“My time in London is over,” he is reported to have said. “I hope you manage to find an agreement with Roma because my desire is to remain.”

But Raiola, Mkhitaryan’s agent, has denied those quotes were ever actually made.

‘Mkhitaryan did not send any message to Arsenal,’ Raiola said.

‘Specially in times like these, fake news are completely unacceptable.’

That elicited a rather curious reply from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, of all people.

Well alright.

Mkhitaryan questioned how Arsenal “treated me differently” last summer after “they made promises” over his first-team involvement.

And despite Raiola refuting the Corriere dello Sport quotes, the 31-year-old is unlikely to have much of a long-term future in north London.

His current Arsenal contract runs until 2021 and the club’s new stance on players with expiring deals – to sell when they enter its final year rather than losing them for free – makes Mkhitaryan vulnerable.

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