Should Liverpool opt for Armenia international Henrikh Mkhitaryan or mercurial France playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa to be their new attacking midfield recruit at the end of this season?
Merseyside giants are interested in signing a forward thinking player who can operate in the hole behind a solo front man this summer
SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph
This summer represents an important period in the still relatively young managerial career of Liverpool head coach Brendan Rodgers, who recently stated his wish to bring “three or four new players” to Anfield for the start of next season.
An experienced centre back will almost certainly be one of those new additions, what with veteran former England international Jamie Carragher having recently announced his decision to retire from all forms of football come May, and Martin Skrtel desperately out of form and favour.
However, the Northern Irishman also reportedly desires a new creative playmaker at Anfield to play in the classic number ten role just behind either one front man.
The Reds have been linked with a plethora of names of late who could potentially fill this role, with both Newcastle United’s coveted playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa and Shakhtar Donetsk’s highly-rated midfield player Henrikh Mkhitaryan mentioned by the Telegraph in the link above, as well as Ajax star Christian Eriksen.
Mkhitaryan is two years younger than the mercurial 26-year-old Frenchman, and the Telegraph suggest that he would cost the Reds about £15 million compared to Ben Arfa, who Newcastle value at around the £12m mark.
Both players made their respective international debuts six years ago, although in the intervening period the Armenia international has made 37 appearances for his country, scoring ten goals in the process, while the France international has only appeared 13 times for les Bleus since 2007, with just two goals to his name.
This season each man has endured contrasting fortunes for their respective clubs. Ben Arfa has been troubled by a succession of injuries which have reduced his Premier League appearances for the Magpies to just 13 matches, during which he has scored three goals and also assisted three goals for his team-mates.
In stark contrast, Mkhitaryan has enjoyed an eye-catching campaign so far for the Ukrainian champions, with two goals in their impressive run to the knockout phase of the Champions League, and has added 19 more in only 20 league matches.
While Mkhitaryan may cost Liverpool more money than Ben Arfa, his strike rate suggests there is probably a very good reason for that. He could make a huge difference to the Reds’ ranks next season.