Arsenal are ‘very disappointed’ to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be part of their Europa League final squad.
The Times reported last week that Arsenal were expected to leave Mkhitaryan behind in north London due to diplomatic issues arising from his presence in Baku.
The political tensions between Azerbaijan and Mkhitaryan’s native Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory meant that Mkhitaryan’s safety could not be guaranteed.
The issue kept the 30-year-old out of the group-stage game with Qarabag earlier this season, with The Times reporting Arsenal’s ‘significant anger’ over a situation they feel UEFA haven’t helped.
But the Gunners confirmed on Tuesday morning that Mkhitaryan would not travel with them to the final.
‘We are very disappointed to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for our Uefa Europa League final against Chelsea,’ read an official statement.
‘We have thoroughly explored all the options for Micki to be part of the squad but after discussing this with Micki and his family we have collectively agreed he will not be in our travelling party.
‘We have written to Uefa expressing our deep concerns about this situation. Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.
‘We’re also very sad that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer’s career.
‘Micki will continue to be part of our preparations until we depart for Baku at the weekend.’
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