Much has been said about Arsenal’s failed pursuit of a new winger in the summer and whilst there’s an acceptance that what’s done is done, technical director Edu still has the chance to secure one of the hottest prospects currently in the game for Mikel Arteta in January.
From Raphinha to Pedro Neto, the Gunners explored several options to strengthen the attack but it was a search which ultimately ended in frustration. Arteta made it clear that he was keen to add more firepower despite the arrival of Gabriel Jesus, with Nicolas Pepe’s loan move to Nice only reiterating the importance of doing exactly that.
The expectation heading into the final few days of the transfer window was that a new forward would be signed. As Arsenal’s options narrowed down, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykhaylo Mudryk was one of the names under consideration football.london understands. However, injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny left the club little choice but to prioritise a midfielder instead.
Often labelled the “Ukrainian Neymar”, Mudryk has established himself as one of the most talented and promising young players in the world. Eye-catching performances for both club and country have seen the hype surrounding his name reach an all-time high and although it can be easy to judge after taking one glimpse at a player, the Ukrainian international is proving that the hype is absolutely justified.
Having watched him play in the Champions League over the past couple of weeks, it is hard not to make comparisons to Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin with the energy, the pace and the directness being obvious similarities. People often say that Saint-Maximin offers everything but goals and it’s difficult to disagree with that given he’s known more for his skill rather than his finishing.
Interestingly with Mudryk, he is starting to show just how clinical he can be within the 18-yard box whilst offering everything else to be a defender’s worst nightmare. The two goals in his last two Champions League appearances are a perfect example, keeping his composure to neatly slot – and blast – the ball beyond the keeper using his weaker foot in what could be described as striker-esque finishes.
Although Mudryk’s displays have left many fans extremely disappointed that he didn’t join in the summer, Arteta and Edu’s chances of securing his services remain very much alive. Speaking to CBS Sports Golazo about his future, the 21-year-old refused to close the door on a move to the Premier League and specifically Arsenal when asked about their long-standing interest.
“I do dream (of the Premier League). I think every guy dreams about the Premier League,” Mudryk said. “Arsenal is a very good team with a very good coach. I like the way they play. Yes, it would be hard to say no from my side, I can’t say no but the transfer is not only my decision and my word.”
According to The Athletic, the player was discussed among Arsenal’s recruitment team during the summer after it received glowing reports about his talent and temperament. It’s added that contact was made with Mudryk’s representatives and a formal bid is thought to have been considered before the injuries in midfield were sustained.
As he continues to make a name for himself on one of the biggest stages in football, there will no doubt be a growing feeling within the walls of London Colney that it could be a case of now or never to win the race for Mudryk come January.
A host of clubs including Brentford are believed to be monitoring him closely and Shakhtar Donetsk’s demands will only rise as a result of his standout performances, with the value currently upwards of £43million according to Fabrizio Romano.
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