Arsenal confirm Mkhitaryan will miss Europa League final due to security concerns

Tanya Simon
May 22, 2019

"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".

Neto has played 47 times for Valencia in their 2018-19 campaign and even played against Arsenal in the Europa League semi-final, where Emery's men ran out 7-3 aggregate winners.

"It's the kind of game that doesn't come along very often for us players and I must admit, it hurts me a lot to miss it", he wrote on Instagram. We must have big ambition and big motivation for this final.

The Europa League presents Chelsea's final opportunity to end what has been a frustrating season with something to smile about.

The two countries have long disputed the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and there have been fears that Mkhitaryan could be used as a political pawn in the war that dates back to 1988.

"I spoke this morning with Mkhitaryan". "I really wanted to stay at least one more year - I have felt a part of the team, the family, since the beginning and hopefully there will be more trophies to come".

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On Monday, the day before Arsenal's statement, Azerbaijan's ambassador to the UK, Tahir Taghizadeh, made attempts to ease Mkhitaryan's concerns over his impending decision to travel or not. This is a very personal decision; I can not push him to come with us. "As a result of these guarantees, a comprehensive security plan was developed and given to the club".

Why is Mkhitaryan unable to play in the final? Armenia and Azerbaijan have a century-long conflict stemming from the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917, which has caused concern for Mkhitaryan's safety.

"Manifestations of racism and xenophobia in sport should not take place", said the Foreign Ministry Spokesperon Anna Naghdalyan.

As Sportsmail reported in February, failure to return to European football's most prestigious club competition will likely leave Emery with a budget of around £45m to work with in the summer.

"I know that there will be supporters from countries closer to Baku", he added.

"There are Arsenal season tickets holders denied visas or scared to travel because they are British Armenian and will be targeted". Some neighbouring districts are also under the control of those ethnic Armenian forces.

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