Arsenal’s lack of creativity is threatening to derail Mikel Arteta’s tenure at the Emirates.
In 14 Premier League games, the Gunners have netted just 12 goals, with only three clubs with a poorer record.
And it isn’t just scoring that has been an issue, with all of their attacking metrics towards the bottom of the Premier League.
Much of the attention has been directed towards Mesut Ozil’s omission from Arteta’s squads at the start of the season.
But away from the World Cup winner, another midfield outcast continues to make headlines away from north London.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t play a single game under Arteta after his predecessor Unai Emery deemed him surplus to requirements.
Emery allowed the attacking midfielder to join Roma on a season-long loan, where he impressed, scoring nine goals and creating a further five in Serie A.
After replacing Emery, Arteta hinted that there could still be a place for the former Manchester United star.
"He is the kind of player who can fit in any team when he is at his best," the Arsenal boss said earlier this year.
He needs to do it consistently and here he had moments and that’s what we need to assess.”
However, Arsenal opted to cancel the 31-year-old’s contract, allowing him to rejoin the Italians on a permanent deal.
And although Mkhitaryan clearly was pushing for a move, he did reveal that any final decision would come from the club themselves.
"Of course I would like to be at Roma next season, not only next season [but] for another few years," he said this summer.
"But I still have a contract with Arsenal and it’s not up to me. It’s up to Arsenal and Roma if they will agree terms of the transfer fee.
"Of course, if I’m not going to stay at Roma I have to go back to Arsenal.”
And while Arsenal’s midfield continue with their desperate attacking output, Mkhitaryan continues to impress for Roma, with 13 goal involvements in the league – more than his old side’s total altogether.
"We know the player he’s been, we know his past, and we need to have all the information to make the right decision,” Arteta said.
Arteta is set to be handed a transfer 'warchest' in the January window, with a creative midfielder at the top of his wishlist. But it could be argued that they had the perfect option already at their disposal.
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