Ukrainians’ £23m-rated midfielder is AWOL as his team-mates prepare for the new campaign in Austria but they won’t be forced to sell
Henrikh Mkhitaryan appears to be trying to force through a move to Liverpool after being accused of going AWOL by his current club.
Shakhtar Donetsk are threatening to fine Mkhitaryan because, they claim, he has failed to report to their pre-season training camp in Austria.
He was set to fly to Merseyside last week for a medical before the problem arose, and remains keen for his move to Anfield to go through.
Shakhtar CEO Sergei Palkin is unimpressed by Mkhitaryan’s no-show and warned he will be punished if he does not appear.
“Mkhitaryan did not come to the training session on Monday, but he had to,” said Palkin. “We do not know why.
“If he does not join the team in the coming days he will be fined.
“Concerning Mkhitaryan’s behaviour, I know that he does not have any problems with his team-mates and coaches and we have not heard from him about his intention to leave Shakhtar.
“All the questions about Mkhitaryan’s behaviour should be addressed to him.”
Despite the 24-year-old’s desire to move to the Premier League, Palkin does not believe he is speaking to Liverpool behind Shakhtar’s back.
“I am certain that the negotiations between them is just rumour,” he said.
“No offer for Mkhitaryan has been made at Shakhtar.”
Shakhtar are loathe to lose Mkhitaryan – who scored a Ukrainian league record 25 goals during the club’s title success last season – and are under no financial pressure to sell because of their billionaire owner Rinat Akhmetov.
Palkin maintains Shakhtar have had no direct contact with Liverpool yet, but added they are open to offers.
The club understand the desire of some of their best players to change leagues, and they have already let Willian (to Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala) and Fernandinho (Manchester City) go this year.
“As you know, there have been too many different conversations about Henrikh Mkhitaryan,” he said.
“But the situation has been strongly and artificially inflated. I can say that we have had no communication from any member of Liverpool.
“Henrikh is an important player in our team. Shakhtar want to keep him, but we are willing to listen and consider all proposals for his transfer.
“We have already parted with Willian and Fernandinho, but the club will not just sell players.
“Soon we will also strengthen ourselves with quality players, designed to replace those who have left.”