ARSENAL are not optimistic Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be available for their Europa League final with Chelsea, according to reports.
It is understood the club are becoming increasingly resigned to the fact they may well have to leave the midfielder at home when they travel to Baku.
According to the Guardian, there is ‘significant anger’ at the club as a player is ‘essentially forced to miss such a major match over safety issues’ which are out of his – or Arsenal’s – control.
Mkhitaryan is understandably disappointed that his safety cannot be guaranteed due to political tensions between Azerbaijan – where the final is being played – and his home country of Armenia.
Even the Gunners’ injured players such as Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding will make the trip despite knowing they will not be involved in the game against Prem rivals Chelsea.
No other Arsenal midfielder has played more minutes in this season’s Europa League than the former Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United man.
And his experience in the final of the competition – he scored two years ago when the Red Devils beat Ajax – could have proved crucial.
The report also states that Arsenal are unlikely to pull out in protest due to the magnitude of the match – £60million and Champions League qualification are on the line.
Boss Unai Emery spoke about the issue following the win at Burnley on Sunday.
He said: “One is a political issue and I don’t know really know the solution.
We will do all possible to have every player and him. But I don’t know how this is really a possibility with Mkhitaryan and the political issues.
“We want to play with him and against Burnley he worked very well.
“We will do all possible to have every player and him. But I don’t know how this is really a possibility with him and the political issues.
“It is not in my hands and I don’t understand what is the situation.
“The problem is with the two countries. We will do all we can but it is not the only issue.”
Arsenal also hit out at Uefa for the “unacceptable” decision to hold the game in Baku.
The two clubs have been given just 6,000 tickets each in the 67,000-seater stadium.
A statement said: “Everyone at Arsenal is delighted to have reached the Uefa Europa League final and we are all very much looking forward to the match against Chelsea on Wednesday, May 29.
“However, we are bitterly disappointed by the fact that due to transport limitations Uefa can only make a maximum of 6,000 tickets available to Arsenal for a stadium with a capacity of well over 60,000.
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“Time will tell if it is even possible for 6,000 Arsenal fans to attend the match, given how extreme the travel challenges are.
“We have 45,000 season-ticket holders and for so many fans to miss out due to Uefa selecting a final venue with such limited transport provision is quite simply not right.
“The reality is that whoever reached the final would not be able to meet demand from their supporters.”