LONDON: Manchester United have signed midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund just as long-serving Ryan Giggs is leaving the club.
Mkhitaryan, 27-year-old Armenia international, is United’s third major summer signing under new manager Jose Mourinho after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly.
A Dortmund statement read: “After intensive discussions BVB have complied with the wishes of the Armenian national team player to join Manchester United.”
The former Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker would have been out of contract next year but it has been reported that United have still paid “an enormously valuable offer” – as Dortmund put it – of £26m.
Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said: “Had we rejected this offer, the player would have been able to leave for free in 2017. And all we would have done is delay the issue for another year.”
Mkhitaryan, who joined Dortmund for £23.7m from Shakhtar Donetsk in July 2013, scored 11 goals in 31 Bundesliga appearances last season to help Dortmund finish runners-up behind Bayern Munich.
He also claimed a league-leading 15 assists, which was four more than the next-best player, Karim Bellarabi of Bayer Leverkusen.
Mkhitaryan has scored 17 goals in 58 games for Armenia.
The signing of the six-time Armenian Footballer of the Year continues United’s summer rebuilding under Mourinho, who replaced Louis van Gaal after a mixed 2015-16 campaign which saw the Red Devils win the FA Cup but only finish a disappointing fifth in the Premier League.
Ivory Coast defender Bailly joined last month from Villarreal for 30m while Ibrahimovic announced his own transfer from Paris Saint-Germain on Friday.
Ibrahimovic has signed a one-year contract with the option of a 12-month extension, it is understood.
United have confirmed that Giggs is to leave Old Trafford after 29 years “to pursue his managerial ambitions.”
Giggs, who made a club record 963 appearances, had one more year on his contract as assistant manager but new boss Jose Mourinho is expected to give that role to Rui Faria.
A club statement read: “Ryan Giggs is to leave Manchester United, the club he has been with since the age of 14, to pursue his desire to be a manager.”
Cardiff-born Giggs has spent the last two seasons as Van Gaal’s assistant, having served a short stint as caretaker manager after David Moyes’ departure at the end of the 2013-14 campaign.
Before that, he was a fixture in United’s first team for 23 years, scoring 168 goals in all competitions and winning 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and the Champions League twice.
In total he won 34 trophies during his playing days, making him the most decorated player in United’s history.