It is expected that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss Arsenal’s Europa League trip to Azerbaijan champions Qarabag, due to rising tensions between the country, and the midfielder’s native Armenia.
Arsenal allowed Mkhitaryan to make a decision, and he has decided not to travel with the rest of the squad, as he did in 2015 when he played for Borussia Dortmund.
Mkhitaryan would have to apply to the Azerbaijani government for a permit to travel to the country. But, they country indicated he would have been granted one in 2015.
This news raises the question of whether Mkhitaryan would play in the final, should Arsenal make it, as this is to be played in Baku next May. It is reported that no decision has been made so far.
Mkhitaryan has scored once and assisted one goal in the Premier League this term from five appearances, two from the bench. He is a starting member of the Armenia national team, having played both Nations League games so far.
Hostility between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region dates back to the early 20th century.
The area has been controlled by the Azerbaijan military since a 1994 ceasefire, which brought an end to a six-year conflict with Armenia. Further clashes erupted in 2016 and tension in the region remains high.