Manchester United could use Henrikh Mkhitaryan as ‘bargaining chip’, says Alan Smith

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Manchester United's Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan gestures during the UEFA Super Cup football match between Real Madrid and Manchester United on August 8, 2017, at the Philip II Arena in Skopje. / AFP PHOTO / ARMEND NIMANI (Photo credit should read ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be used as a “bargaining chip” in the January transfer window if Manchester United look to sign new players, according to Alan Smith.

Mkhitaryan began the season in impressive form by providing five assists in the club’s first three Premier League games.

However, the Armenia international has fallen out of favour in recent months and has failed to make Jose Mourinho’s 18-man squad for seven of United’s last eight matches, with his only recent appearance coming as a substitute against Brighton on November 25.

Mourinho insists other players in his squad are more deserving of a starting place than Mkhitaryan based on current form and Smith believes the former Borussia Dortmund player could be sold in order to make way for another midfielder, with Mesut Ozil among the names linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho insists other players are more deserving of a place in his squad
Jose Mourinho insists other players are more deserving of a place in his squad

“Who knows what will happen in January? There will be plenty of offers for someone like Mkhitaryan,” said Smith on Premier League Daily.

“Whether they will be the right place or not is another matter. He is a sellable asset and a bargaining chip perhaps for somebody else that Mourinho might want to get in.

“I still think he would be reluctant to sell somebody like that, who is a quality player when he is playing with confidence.”

Smith believes Mkhitaryan still has a future at Old Trafford despite his recent spell out of the side.

“He has not been playing well enough but maybe the system doesn’t suit [him],” said Smith.

Mesut Ozil has been linked with a January move to United
Mesut Ozil has been linked with a January move to United

“He [Mourinho] has been relying on the likes of (Anthony) Martial and (Marcus) Rashford in those wide positions. Jesse Lingard has also been showing good form.

“Mkhitaryan hasn’t been playing well enough. He is a very talented boy but is yet to show us on a consistent basis what he showed at Dortmund, for instance.

“I don’t think Mourinho will be giving up on him just yet. It shows the depth of their squad really in terms of talent, that he hasn’t made the matchday squad a few times.”

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