Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed his hope that midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be available for the Europa League final against Chelsea in Azerbaijan.
The 30-year-old midfielder – who appeared during the Gunners’ 3-1 victory over Burnley on the weekend – is a major doubt for the showpiece event, amid ongoing political tensions surrounding the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
With Armenia and Azerbaijan in conflict over the territory, Mkhitaryan‘s involvement in the final could prompt a political issue, but Emery is hopeful that UEFA will aid his application for a visa, allowing him to participate.
“We want to play with Mkhitaryan,” Emery said, as quoted by the Express. “It is a political issue but I don’t know well what the solution is.
“Today [during Arsenal’s victory over Burnley] he worked very well and we are ready to do all we can do to play with him.”
Mkhitaryan, a former Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United midfielder, appeared in both of Arsenal’s semi-final wins against Valencia and earned himself an assist during the 4-2 second leg victory at the Mestalla.
With a proven ability to produce an end product, Emery wants his midfielder to be involved but went on to admit that he wasn’t sure if there was a potential solution.
He added: “Really, I don’t know what the problem is between the two countries but we are going to do all we can to have Mkhitaryan there.
“This issue is not sporting. It is not in my hands. “I don’t understand what the solution is.”