Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan became Jose Mourinho’s third signing of the close season for Manchester United on Saturday, the midfielder’s German club Borussia Dortmund announced.
The 27-year-old, who joins Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly and veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as new faces at United, was given a curt farewell by Dortmund after ending his three-year stay in a deal worth around 42 million euros ($46.8 million).
Dortmund president Hans-Joachim Watzke said he and the club were put in an unenviable position as Mkhitaryan had just a year left on his contract.
“Manchester made us an enormous offer. If we had rejected it, the player could have left for free in 2017,” said Watzke.
The official club statement did not mention the player by name as he followed German World Cup-winning defender and club captain Mats Hummels and midfielder Ilkay Gundogan in leaving the club this summer -- the former to arch-rivals Bayern Munich and the latter to join former Bayern coach Pep Guardiola at English side Manchester City.
Dortmund fans have got used to the draining of their star names with the likes of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze leaving for Bayern among other big name departures in years gone by.
“After intensive discussions BVB have complied with the wishes of the Armenian national team player to join Manchester United,” read the statement.
Mkhitaryan, who cost Dortmund $33 million when they signed him from Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, had a stellar season last term, scoring 23 goals and creating another 32 in all competitions, as Borussia finished runners-up to Bayern in Germany’s top flight.
But his agent confirmed at the beginning of last month they rejected Dortmund’s attempts to extend his contract.