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Sports

Dortmund snap up Armenian Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar

Borussia Dortmund have agreed terms with attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk. The publicly traded club announced the move in a message to the markets, saying the deal was pending finalization.

Blaszczykowski, Aubameyang, Lewandowski and now Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Borussia Dortmund's attacking lineup is becoming the stuff of tongue-twisting folklore.

On Monday, Dortmund said it had agreed on a deal for the 24-year-old attacking midfielder (left in picture, playing against Dortmund this past season) from Shakhtar Donetsk, after the Armenian international banged in 25 goals and laid on another 10 in the previous season. The English Premier League club Liverpool were also reportedly in the running for his services.

"Borussia Dortmund and the player have reached a fundamental agreement for a playing contract that would run to June 30, 2017," the traders' announcement said. "The details must still be finalized."

Previous reports suggested that it would take some 25 million euros ($32.13 million) to prize Mkhitaryan away from Shakhtar. If confirmed, such a fee would make the Armenian the club's most expensive signing ever. Dortmund, flush with cash after their run to the Champions League final and the sale of German international Mario Götze to Bayern Munich, have also signed attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and center-back Sokratis this summer.

The club announced that "according to current indications," the Mkhitaryan purchase would mark the wrapping up of its "meaningful transfer activities" ahead of the coming season. Dortmund also announced that its transfer war chest of about 50 million euros was "largely depleted."

The big Lewandowski issue

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund's and the Bundesliga's top scorer over the past two seasons combined, remains the great unknown in Jürgen Klopp's preseason preparations. The forward and Bayern Munich transfer target, who has just one year remaining on his Dortmund contract, arrived at the club's preseason training camp on Monday. Team officials have said they don't intend to sell him to Bayern, but messages on the player's more general availability have been mixed. The Bavarians on Monday offloaded their want-away forward, German international Mario Gomez, to Fiorentina.

If Lewandowski plays out his contract - an extension would seem out of the question at this stage - he could leave for free next sumer.

"Now we want to prove that we can be successful in the coming season with a quality player like Robert," Jürgen Klopp said of Lewandowski in a Welt am Sonntag newspaper interview. "Our results are more important than anything else, and I know Robert sees it that way too."

Klopp also said he was hopeful that Dortmund's new signings would allow them to take the fight to Bayern more convincingly next season, after the Bavarians cantered to a domestic double in the last campaign. Dortmund lost against Bayern in the German Cup quarterfinal and the Champions League final, finishing 25 points adrift in the Bundesliga.

"We have our bow and arrow. It's just that Bayern have a - precision - bazooka. The likelihood that they hit the target is therefore considerably greater. Nevertheless, Robin Hood was supposedly rather successful," Klopp told the newspaper.

msh/mkg (dpa, SID)