Arsenal rule Henrikh Mkhitaryan out of Chelsea game
Arsenal have confirmed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be involved in the Europa League final.
The Gunners confirmed this morning that the 30-year-old will not feature against Chelsea.
There have been fears over the Armenia international’s safety if he joined his team-mates in Baku due to his country’s dispute with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
After exploring all the option, Mkhitaryan, his family and Arsenal have decided that he will not make the trip to Baku.
In a club statement, the north Londoners expressed their disappointment at not being able to include Mkhitaryan in their squad for the final.
It read: “We are very disappointed to announce that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will not be travelling with the squad for our Uefa Europa League final against Chelsea.
“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.”
The Gunners had previously been liaising with Uefa about a security strategy to protect Mkhitaryan if he had been named in their travelling party. He was expected to get special dispensation from the Azerbaijani authorities to receive a visa that would have allowed him to feature on May 29.
It is not yet clear why Arsenal, Mkhitaryan and his family felt the measures put in place were not sufficient for him to be able to play in the game.