In an eery similarity, it was Shakhtar Donetsk that were the selling club on that occasion also as Chelsea signed Willian. In January 2023 it is the Ukraine side again but this time it is Mykhaylo Mudryk getting the attention. He has been Arsenal’s priority transfer target since the summer but former Croatia man Darijo Srna is playing hardball over a fee for the player.
Shakhtar want to get a good deal for their 22-year-old star, who they value close to the sums paid for Jack Grealish and Antony. Arsenal’s initial bids were only coming in at around £45million but the latest offer of €95million (£84million) is much closer. Chelsea are seeking to bypass the convoluted and complex negotiations, though.
The Blues are indeed interested in taking advantage of Arsenal’s slow progress if the chance arises but Fabrizio Romano has now taken that a step further, writing that representatives have travelled to Poland to try and reach a verbal agreement of around €100million (£88million) for the player.
Romano has also claimed that the player will fly to the UK on Saturday evening to have his Chelsea medical.
Mykhaylo Mudryk will fly to London in the next hours — understand he will be in UK tonight in order to discuss the details, medical ready #CFC
Chelsea pushing on long term deal to get personal terms sealed after full agreement on €100m fee.
More: https://t.co/F6R0tY4tDn pic.twitter.com/SFJykNZU45
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano)
Chelsea are still looking at midfielders and right-back options this window, having already made four signings as well. This comes after a major summer outlay of over £250million under Todd Boehly.
The deal now appears to be close to completion, though convincing the player could be a challenge after all he has had to say on Arsenal.
Here, we round up everything that the winger has posted and said on the matter:
Social media activity
Mudryk has dropped his fair share of cryptic social media messages throughout the negotiation process and he posted a now-deleted Instagram story of the praying emoji after news of Arsenal’s third bid broke on Thursday evening.
Mikel Arteta praise
Mudryk has regularly used Instagram throughout Arsenal’s pursuit of him, regularly posting pictures of him watching the Gunners in action on TV, most recently Premier League games against both West Ham and Brighton.
The latter came with the caption “2 top coach”, referring to Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, who managed him at Shakhtar, as well as current Arsenal head coach Arteta.
Premier League dream
Speaking in September in an interview with CBS Sports, Mudryk admitted that a move to the Premier League is a dream of his, citing Arsenal in particular as a potential destination.
When asked about the English top-flight, he said: “I do dream (of the Premier League). I think every guy dreams about the Premier League. 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.”
Real Madrid claim
Mudryk also held an interview with the wide of Arsenal defender Oleksandr Zinchenko, Vlanda Sedan, where they discussed the possibility of him arriving in north London.
Speaking during the interviews, the young winger said: “From a purely hypothetical perspective, if there was the option of being a bench player for Real Madrid or a starter for Arsenal, I’d probably choose Arsenal. But it’s a tough question and involves a lot of factors in my answer.
“I would first want to know from the head coach that even if I wasn’t a guaranteed starter, that I’d receive a chance. Essentially I need to hear directly from the manager what he envisages my role in his side to be.”
Mudryk has also admitted that he regularly watches the Gunners before heaping praise on the north Londoners for their play-style. “I check on them [Arsenal] in ‘myscore’ and know when they’re playing I can check on them”, he said last year.
“I also watch them too. (Arsenal are) a very dynamic side, in general not just in controlling possession but also in scoring goals.”
He has also posted several times during matches with the Gunners on in the background including a video on Instagram of him watching Mikel Arteta’s side play on TV.
In a video posted on his Instagram story, Mudryk is watching Arsenal play West Ham in the first Premier League match back at the Emirates Stadium. The game is on his iPad and was filmed in time to see Eddie Nketiah’s goal to make it 3-1 with the recording taken just before the striker slotted past Lukas Fabianski.