Tomorrow Chelsea meet Shakhtar Donetsk for the first time in their history and not many Chelsea supporters are familiar with the Ukrainian club. Chelsea and Shakhtar were in the headlines all summer with Chelsea presumably interested in talented Brazilian winger Willian. However, it’s not Willian that Chelsea supporters should keep their eye on.
Meet Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the so-called “Armenian Messi.” Mkhitaryan is not a household name yet, but Armenian supporters have been keeping an eye on this budding talent since he made his senior squad debut against Panama at the age of 17. Mkhitaryan was raised by Armenia’s FC Pyunik before making a transition to the Ukraine to play for FC Metalurh Donetsk.
After just one season, Mkhitaryan was named captain of Metalurh and caught the eye of neighbors Shakhtar. After a solid debut season, he was named Shakhtar’s player of the season by the fans and Armenian Footballer of the Year while leading Shakhtar to the double.
This season he has really shown his class with an impressive 14 goals and 5 assists in 12 league games this season for Donetsk, helping lead them to a perfect 12 wins in 12 games with a goal difference of 32. UEFA even went as far as naming him one of the continent’s top 100 players.
So the question is, is he really this good? The answer is an emphatic yes. Mkhitaryan gave the Italian National Team’s defense a horrific time as he was able to create chances for a poor Armenian National Team. He currently sits just two goals away from becoming their all-time leading goal scorer at the age of 23.
Chelsea are a better team than Donetsk, no question about it, but that doesn’t mean Shakhtar will be an easy opponent. I truly believe that even with an XI that includes Mata, Oscar and Hazard in the midfield, Mkhitaryan would not only challenge for playing time but might command it. Keep a close eye on this Armenian wonderkid. It won’t be long before he’s making headlines and big bucks at one of the biggest clubs in the world. And it could very well be Chelsea.