Henrikh Mkhitaryan

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Transfer news: Arsenal, Liverpool aim for Draxler move; Can to Juventus?

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January is closer than it may seem, and that means transfer rumors are swirling once again. Although, they never really stop.

[ MORE: NYCFC cuts ties with 11 players, including Brillant and White ]

Here are some of Monday’s top stories as Premier League sides look into their options for the winter.

Julian Draxler has seen his role diminished since the Neymar’s arrival at the Parc des Princes this summer, and now the German could look for a revival in England this January.

The Mirror is reporting that Arsenal and Liverpool could vie for the PSG man’s services during the winter transfer window, as both clubs look to further bolster their attacks.

With Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil’s futures hanging in the balance at Arsenal, the Gunners could turn to Draxler as a suitable replacement at winger.

Meanwhile, the Reds already have a plethora of young talent in their front group, including Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, and the addition of Draxler would provide further depth if Philippe Coutinho‘s exit rumors persist.

Liverpool could see one of its midfielders leave Anfield soon, as Emre Can is garnering interest from Serie A.

Italian giant Juventus is said to have interest in Can, with Tuttosport reporting that the two parties have already agreed to terms for the 25-year-old to arrive in Turin next summer.

Can’s current deal with the Reds is scheduled to expire after the 2017/18 season, which would make him a free agent at that point.

Barcelona continues to look at options to help further its attack this winter, and while Coutinho’s name continues to fly around, a Tottenham player could be the solution the Blaugrana have been looking for.

Don Balon is reporting that Barca is eyeing up a move for Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen, despite the club’s interest in Coutinho and Mesut Ozil.

Mourinho right to hit out at Henrikh Mkhitaryan?

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Jose Mourinho has launched a scathing attack on Manchester United playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, his latest target after calling out Luke Shaw last season and during this campaign.

Given Mourinho’s comments, it’s hard to see the Mkhitaryan sticking around at Old Trafford for much longer. And perhaps that is what Mourinho wants.

Speaking ahead of United’s clash with Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Mourinho discussed Mkhitaryan’s recent form.

He didn’t hold back.

“I was not happy with his last performances,” Mourinho said. “It’s not one or two, I am talking about three, four or five. He started well this season but his performance levels, goalscoring, assists, high pressing, bringing the team with him as number 10, were decreasing step by step. That was enough [to be dropped] because the others worked to have a chance. Everybody works to have a chance. It’s as simple as that.”

This isn’t the first time Mkhitaryan has been criticized by Mourinho, but it may be the last and with incredible competition for places among the attacking midfielders at United, the Armenian international may be the odd one out.

Just a few months into his debut campaign at United, following his $37 million move from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2016, Mkhitaryan was hauled off at half time in the Manchester derby and Mourinho didn’t start him in another PL game for three months.

The 28-year-old rebounded well from a tough start to life at United and scored 11 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions in 2016-17, scoring six times in their run to winning the UEFA Europa League, including in the final.

Mkhitaryan recovered from that knock-back and did start this season well but hasn’t featured since a lackluster display in the defeat at Chelsea on Nov. 5. In all honesty, Mkhitaryan was woeful at Chelsea and it would be easy to understand if the real reason he hasn’t played a single second in any of United’s last two games is because he is still lost in N'Golo Kante‘s back pocket…

With Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata all able to play in the same role as Mkhitaryan, plus Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning to full fitness to boost their attacking options, this attack on Mkhitaryan is well-timed by Mourinho and could suggest he’s ready to offload him in January when the transfer window reopens.

It is believed Mkhitaryan’s former club Dortmund may be eager to buy him back in January with the Bundesliga side having bought Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze and Nuri Sahin back to the Westfalenstadion in recent years.

Mkhitaryan’s time at United has been somewhat underwhelming but if he leaves in January, his career can’t be brushed aside as a complete failure as he helped them to two major trophies last season and a return to the UEFA Champions League.

His time at United will be remembered more for his constant battle to impress Mourinho. The 2015-16 Bundesliga player of the year appears to have lost both the battle, and the war, when it comes to that.

Mourinho: Mkhitaryan “disappeared” during games, got dropped

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It would appear that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has become the new Luke Shaw, who not so long ago became the new Juan Mata, who had become the new Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Pepe, who all previously become the new Kaka and Mesut Ozil — players previously perceived to be undroppable, only to fall out of favor and be dropped from Mourinho’s side.

[ MORE: Carrick back in training after operation to fix irregular heartbeat ]

Similarly to many of the aforementioned stars of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid sides of the not-so-distant past, Mourinho recently singled out Mkhitaryan for not working hard enough for the team and failing to meet expectations with his performances.

Mkhitaryan last featured in Man United’s 1-0 loss to Chelsea on Nov. 5, prior to the most recent international break. He played just 62 minutes, to follow an UEFA Champions League appearance of just 45 minutes against Benfica. Mkhitaryan was then absent from the substitute’s bench for a victory over Newcastle United and a defeat to Basel.

[ MORE: Pochettino sees Sanchez as one of world’s best defenders already ]

In Mourinho’s mind, Mkhitaryan hasn’t merited a place in the team — quotes from the Guardian:

“I was not happy with his last performances. I’m not speaking about one or two, I’m speaking about three, four or five. He started the season very well and after that, step by step, he was disappearing. His performance levels in terms of goalscoring and assists, pressing, recovering the ball high up the pitch, bringing the team with him as a no. 10, were decreasing.

“That was enough [to drop him] because the others worked to have a chance. Everybody works to have a chance. It’s as simple as that.”

“I don’t know if Mkhitaryan will start but, for sure, he will be back in the group. For him to be back to the group, it means that somebody is going to leave the group.”

Manchester United rocks CSKA Moscow in Russia

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Anthony Martial had a goal and two assists and Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Manchester United sauntered past CSKA Moscow 4-1 in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday at CSKA Stadium.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored United’s other goal, while CSKA Moscow sullied David De Gea‘s clean sheet in the 90th minute on 19-year-old Konstantin Kuchaev’s first senior goal.

United is off to Benfica next, an Oct. 18 date, while CSKA hosts Basel.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Any drama in this one was sorted quickly, as United did not have the Moscovian trouble of its rivals Liverpool.

Martial crossed from the left for Lukaku to head home in the fourth minute, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan earned a clear-cut penalty to give Martial his goal in the 19th.

The French youngster added his second assist on as easy a goal as Lukaku will score, and United led 3-0 at the break.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Mkhitaryan scored a goal in the 57th minute, right when it looked like Martial was set for his brace. Igor Akinfeev pushed a shot into the path of United’s Armenian playmaker for a left-footed finish.

Fellaini leads Manchester United win (video)

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With Paul Pogba injured, substitute Marouane Fellaini broke the Basel wall as Manchester United beat visiting Basel 3-0 in both teams UEFA Champions League group stage openers at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Fellaini assisted a Marcus Rashford goal and Romelu Lukaku also scored for United, who next takes to the road for a Sept. 27 match with CSKA Moscow. Basel will host Benfica on the same Wednesday.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]   

Henrik Mkhitaryan tapped a side-footed shot off the near post from within eight yards, then saw his rebound shot collected by Basel backstop Tomas Vaclik.

But United found its breakthrough before halftime when Ashley Young cut hard to win a yard of space on the right flank for a cross that Fellaini headed hard and home. 1-0.

Anthony Martial cut in from the left in the 52nd minute to threaten goal, but his low bounding shot was collected before it could reach the far pos

United regained possession quickly, and Lukaku made it 2-0 off a Daley Blind cross. It wasn’t much different from the opener, as dominant United cushioned its lead.

Mohamed Elyounoussi nearly won a penalty from Victor Lindelof but instead earned a dangerous shot that David De Gea leapt to push over the bar as Basel bid to pick up its first goal.

Fellaini’s cut back pass through the 18 went through Mkhitaryan’s legs and onto a plate for Rashford to blast past Vaclik.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]