Arsenal will be without Henrikh Mkhitaryan for the Europa League final against Chelsea, with the club deciding to leave the player out of the travelling squad due to safety concerns, the Evening Standard report.
The 30-year-old, who joined the club from Manchester United last year, has been a regular in Unai Emery’s Europa League squad, turning out 11 times during the competition.
The final is set to take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 29.
The playmaker has missed previous games in Azerbaijan as a result of the country’s continued conflict with his native Armenia during his time with German giants Borussia Dortmund.
And a statement from Arsenal on Tuesday morning, cited by the Evening Standard, confirmed that the midfielder will not travel to Azerbaijan with the Gunners.
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.
We have written to UEFA expressing our deep concerns about this situation. Micki has been a key player in our run to the final so this is a big loss for us from a team perspective.
We’re also very sad that a player will miss out on a major European final in circumstances such as this, as it is something that comes along very rarely in a footballer’s career.
The news comes as a big blow for boss Emery, who was expected to name the player in the matchday squad to take on Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea if given the green light.
Four possible replacements for Mkhitaryan against Chelsea
Iwobi was on the bench in both legs of the semi-final against Valencia and would be a likely replacement for Mkhitaryan.
Teenage forward Nketiah scored his first Premier League goal against Burnley in the Gunners’ final league fixture and could earn a place on the bench against the Blues.
Guendouzi could earn a place in the squad, possibly in the starting line-up, in a potential change of system for the Gunners.
Willock also turned out for the Gunners against Burnley and may be included in the travelling squad as Mkhitaryan’s replacement.