Even if Liverpool weren’t about to sell their best player, it seems that Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk would still be high up their list of priority signings, and now has become even more of a likely signing.
And the potential departure of Luis Suarez has got the club looking for replacements already. Mkhitaryan, the Armenian forward who had a brilliant season for Shakhtar as they won yet another Ukrainian league title while slightly disappointing in their knockout stage exit against Dortmund, has been one of the team’s best performers for the last couple of seasons, might be tempted to finally leave after being sought after for the last couple of seasons.
At 24, Mkhitaryan might have reached the pinnacle of what he can with Shakhtar, and although they have the ability to spend just as much as Liverpool and possibly even more, the allure of playing in a more followed league and for a club that is as legendary (yet currently struggling) like Liverpool might sometimes be a bit too much to resist.
So after 25 goals this past season (all in the league, not scoring once in the Champions League) and showing he can be quite deadly even when playing as an attacking midfielder, Mkhitaryan seems to be set on the move to Anfield. Brendan Rodgers set his sights on him even before the whole Luis Suarez situation developed for the worse while Daniel Sturrdige was injured for 4 months.
How much would he cost? Shakhtar purchased him for $7.5 million from Metalurh Donetsk before getting 40 goals in 102 matches from him, so it would be reasonable to believe Liverpool will be needing to pay around £15-20 million in order to sign him. Without selling Suarez, that seems like quite a lot for a club that wasn’t about spending big in the near future, but in order to play with the big boys and compete for a Champions League spot, the upgrades have got to be about more than depth.
Just like Michu, Mkhitaryan seems a lot more comfortable playing as a striker-style midfielder, although it’s hard to see that being implemented in Liverpool’s current tactics. He plays the striker role just as well, although he preforms much better with his face towards the goal.