Henrikh Mkhitaryan says he was desperate to quit Arsenal for Roma this summer as he wanted to “get the pleasure playing football again”.
Gunners midfielder Mkhitaryan, who moved to the Emirates Stadium in January 2018 from Manchester United, has joined the Italians on loan for the rest of the season.
Mkhitaryan’s swap with Alexis Sanchez in January last year is now widely considered to be one of the worst deals of modern times, with both Arsenal and Manchester United failing to see the best of either player.
And the Armenia star has opened up on his temporary exit, admitting he didn’t even discuss a potential salary with Roma because he was so desperate to join them.
“I have to enjoy playing football, no matter the place,” Mkhitaryan said. “In England, I no longer felt happy.
“I got a call from my agent and I wanted to come because it was a great opportunity for me. I didn’t even have a discussion with my agent about money.
“Maybe I was not fitting so well in English football, so I think a change was good.
“The last month at Arsenal I was not happy, so that’s why I said it was better to come to Roma and to get happy and to get the pleasure of playing football again.
“Now I am in Rome and I focus on them. This is not a step backwards as great football is played here.
“I wanted to change the scenery and for me, it is an opportunity to be seized.”
Armenia captain Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, scored twice over the weekend as Armenia stunned Bosnia with a dramatic 4-2 win in their Euro 2020 qualifier.
The win lifted Armenia above Bosnia in Group J as they moved into third place with nine points, three behind Finland. Bosnia is fourth with seven. The top two qualify for next year’s tournament.