Henrikh Mkhitaryan is ideal for Borussia Dortmund

Sascha Steinbach

Having got used to replacing key players, it's no surprise that Jurgen Klopp again got it right with the Armenian

The financial discrepancies of the modern game mean that when a young talent rises to the fore, his move to a bigger, more financially endowed club is inevitable. It is near impossible for a player to perform without catching the attention of one of the European giants, and Borussia Dortmund are perhaps the most indicative of this somewhat disheartening trend.

First, there was Shinji Kagawa, a wonderfully agile Japanese that flitted between the lines of attack and defence, whose ability to receive passes on the half-turn and launch rapid-fire counter-attacks made Manchester United fork out roughly £12 million for him in the summer of 2012. Dortmund promptly reinvested that money into Marco Reus.

The German operates out wide rather than centrally but his lighting quick feet and eye for goal made him a logical replacement - and as well as fitting in like a glove to Dortmund's high-octane, high-tempo system he struck up a marvellous partnership with the inventive Mario Götze.

It was a great shame and shock, then, to hear of Götze's defection to Bayern Munich. The repercussions of the move were far-reaching, the most significant blow yet to Dortmund's hopes of stability and continuity - but more than that, it represented the recurring pattern of dismantlement that rather sadly has become the norm for overachievers.

Yet Dortmund are no innocent victims here. They acted with a similar sense of superiority when they plucked Reus from the grasp of Borussia Monchengladbach, something Klopp as much abashedly admitted a few hours after Gotze's transfer had been announced. "We don't like [Bayern paying Götze's buy-out clause]," he said, "but we did the same this season with Marco Reus and Borussia Monchengladbach weren't happy either."

And the cycle continues. Dortmund's major signing over the past summer was undoubtedly the £25m spent on Shakhtar's Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Again, it's illustrative of the power of money, as well as the power of scouting in the modern game. It's hard to imagine twenty years ago an Armenian plying his trade in Ukraine to capture not only the attention of a European Cup finalist, but also Liverpool and - but then again, Mkhitaryan's exploits make him hard to miss.

Twenty-five goals in themselves speak volumes but betrays Mkhitaryan's true position as a central attacker, working the spaces in between the lines but also creating space for his teammates out wide. It would be an excellent exercise in attacking movement to have a camera follow Mkhitaryan for the course of a single match - it is not so much what he does with the ball, although that is excellent in its own right, but what he does without it, drifting towards the flanks, shifting deeper towards the space and positioning himself in pockets of space that leaves defenders in two minds of whether to track him or leave him there.

A comparison to Mesut Ozil - who will play the same position for Arsenal in the forthcoming Champions League tie - is somewhat appropriate in the sense that the two share similar intelligence and awareness. Ozil might be more creative, assisting as many goals as Mkhitaryan has scored, but there is a mutual selflessness. "His game awareness is perhaps his most valuable quality - that and the speed and power and technique Henrik was gifted by nature and that he's developed," says his former coach Mircea Lucescu, who credits Shakhtar's strides onto the European stage last season almost directly to Mkhitaryan. "Our huge step forward," said Lucescu, "has been Mkhitaryan's development. He's accelerated the game and opened new spaces."

Quite literally, Mkhitaryan opens up space. His vision and movement brings wide players into play, with both Willian and Alex Texiera benefitting, and it would have certainly been that quality that Klopp would have appreciated when deciding to reinvest the Götze fee. So much of Dortmund's gameplan revolves around integrated movement and in that sense Mkhitaryan is ideal; a goal scorer in his own right but also a foil for those around him. After starring against Chelsea in the group stages last season, the Arsenal match should be another opportunity for him to remind London, and the world, of his qualities.

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