If Arsenal beat Valencia to progress to the Europa League final in Baku, it’s looking likely that we’ll be able to call upon the services of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Unai Emery chose not to pick the Armenia international for our group stage game with Qarabag, played in the Azerbaijani capital’s Olympic Stadium, due to safety fears. The midfielder also missed a game with Gabala in 2015 when he was on the books at Borussia Dortmund.
While there are no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan because of a longstanding conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, The Times [£] reports that UEFA will exert pressure on Azerbaijan to issue a visa for the player to feature in the final.
“It is a standard procedure for Uefa to send letters of support to associations, clubs or embassies in order to obtain visas for players and allow them to play in Uefa competition matches,” the governing body told the newspaper.
The report claims that UEFA is willing to leverage the fact that Azerbaijan is hosting four matches of the EURO 2020 finals to force the issue. We suspect that won’t be necessary.