Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the makeweight in the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United.
We got rid of one wantaway star and got a player eager to regain his best form after a torrid time at Old Trafford.
After a season and a half, he – and we – are still waiting.
The Armenian playmaker has felt the bit from social media and journalists alike after some unconvincing performances that flattered to deceive. His blinding Borussia Dortmund form was nowhere to be seen and we were left with a husk of the player who had forged a reputation as one of the best playmakers in Europe.
We saw glimpses though, that reminded us that Mkhitaryan hadn’t lost any of his skills.
Six goals and four assists in 25 league games isn’t exactly terrible, and in the middle of the season he enjoyed a run of games and assists/goals that earned him February’s Player of the Month.
Not bad for a dud.
His partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a useful one too. Their previous relationship at Dortmund was a potent one, and there have been times where both have linked up to great effect.
The problem is that we haven’t had Mkhitaryan in full effect with any consistency whatsoever.
The bottom line?
When we have needed him most, we haven’t had the benefit of his top form.
The big reason for this is that he has not held down a regular spot through the campaign. He’ll play two games and then sit out two. Mkhitaryan – any player really – needs a run before they start to hit the groove.
Still, rotation is part and parcel of the game, but with a full season of Unai Emery’s approach and methodology, we should see an improvement on his return.
That would mean a goal return of around ten and the same amount of assists. Would that be enough to say Mkhitaryan is back?
One thing is for sure, we need more from a talent such as his.