Henrikh Mkhitaryan explains why leaving Arsenal for Roma on a permanent basis was ‘the right decision’ and ‘football in Italy is under-rated.’
Following his loan spell, the Armenia international terminated his Gunners contract by mutual consent to join the Giallorossi as a free agent.
“I always had it in my mind to play well and to help the team and then, at the end of the season, to see if we could get an agreement between myself, Roma and Arsenal to be able to stay here on a permanent basis,” he told the official Roma website.
“I’m very happy to be here now. I think I made a good decision, the right decision for myself and my career, and I’m looking forward to another season here.”
The 31-year-old has played in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, in England with Manchester United and Arsenal, so how did he find Serie A?
“Well, I can say that football in Italy is under-rated. It is not what people think, it is not what people say,” assured Mkhitaryan.
“Before I came here I was listening to a lot of people who would say the league is not good enough, the teams are not good enough… but I can say they are totally wrong. From the first game I had, against Sassuolo, I realised that Italian football is more than people talk about.
“I was really impressed with the quality of the players, even at the lower teams they have some great players. And all the teams want to have the ball, they want to attack, they are not only defending and waiting for the opponents to make mistakes. Instead, they are trying to play football, to enjoy the game and win some points.
“For me it was really impressive, because I wasn’t expecting such a good level of football from all the teams. I am enjoying playing football here in Italy and I feel good playing against all the different teams.”
Roma are joined by another Premier League export this summer, as Pedro arrived as a free agent from Chelsea.
“A great player, a great person. We haven’t had the chance yet to really speak a lot, but I am pretty sure we will have the time soon.
“He has won nearly everything in his football career, he has played for the best clubs – Barcelona, Chelsea and now Roma. So I think his contribution will be very good and he can help us to achieve our goals that we have this season.
“Of course we have to help him to settle in quickly and be ready for the new season, but I am pretty sure with players like him we can have a good season.”