Manchester United had doubts over signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan

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It hasn't been quite the start of the season many Manchester United fans were expecting after Jose Mourinho's arrival in the summer and over £150 million spent on four new players.

While Zlatan Ibrahimovic initially started brightly and Eric Bailly has looked right at home in the Premier League, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have found the demands of English football much harder to adjust to.

Mourinho has persisted with Pogba in his starting XI despite his inconsistent first few performances back at Old Trafford but Mkhitaryan's progress - or lack of - has been much more alarming.

The former Borussia Dortmund attacker has not featured since the defeat to Manchester City back in September.

A couple of injuries have certainly hampered his progress but now fully fit, Mkhitaryan still doesn't appear to be any closer to a spot in the starting XI.

And a report in The Independent today might be another cause for concern for United fans - mainly because it may prove Louis van Gaal was right about something.

The article, written by Mark Ogden, claims coaching staff in the previous regime at Old Trafford had reservations about signing Mkhitaryan.

It is believed Man United's interest in the Armenian started before Mourinho was appointed, however, Van Gaal's team of coaches were wary of signing him because of his suitability to the Premier League.

Shinji Kagawa's failure to build on his bright start to life to Old Trafford after making the same move from Germany in 2012 was at the forefront of United's thinking about a similar deal for Mkhitaryan.

The extra physical demands of the English game proved too difficult for Kagawa to overcome and the Red Devils did not want a repeat scenario occurring.

Nevertheless, Mkhitaryan joined Mourinho at the club just a few months later after being named the Bundesliga's Players' Player of the Season.

But the Portuguese boss' reluctance to hand him opportunities of late suggests he has lost faith in his summer signing and one of the Premier League's most exciting additions is already facing doubts surrounding his long-term future at the club.

The team's current slump in the Premier League means the door hasn't been completely shut on the 27-year-old, though, and there's still every chance Mourinho can prove Van Gaal and co. were wrong once he eventually works out his strongest team and a certain Armenian is included.

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Wayne Rooney
Premier League
Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Jose Mourinho

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