Shakhtar Donetsk have rejected Arsenal’s initial bid for forward Mykhailo Mudryk, per multiple reports. The Gunners offered €40M + €25M in add-ons for the speedster, but Shakhtar were never going to accept the first offer, especially after saying they want upwards of €85M for the player.
Arsenal will almost certainly come back with another, but they might not up the price much. It’s more likely they shift some of the add-ons into the upfront fee so that Shakhtar get more money in their pocket right now. Most of the insiders think the transfer will get done, or at least there is room to make a deal. The question is where will the number end up. Right now, Shakhtar seem to be attempting to play hardball on price.
I don’t think Arsenal should pay much more than they’re offering right now. Mudryk is a talented player, but the jump from the Ukrainian Premier League to the Barclay’s Premier League will be a big one, and the 21-year old forward is nowhere near a finished product / polished player. Not that it should influence the transfer, but the higher the number, the higher the expectations, and the quicker / more likely the public discourse will turn sour on Mudryk if he doesn’t measure up to what people arbitrarily think someone who cost whatever the amount was should look like.
Liverpool just bought Cody Gakpo, who is leading the Eredivisie in goals and scored three at the World Cup, for somewhere in the neighborhood of £40M. The 23-year old Gakpo is much closer to Premier League ready than Mudryk. Arsenal would prefer that price set the market. Shakhtar want the market set by the £85M Manchester United paid for Antony.
The Ukrainian side probably isn’t helped by Mudryk publicly angling for a move. As indicated by multiple Instagram posts from his account, he wants to come to North London. And even if it doesn’t affect the transfer fee all that much, Mudryk’s interest in making the move happen might help to push it over the line once things get really close.
I’m sure Arsenal have a number in mind at which if it doesn’t seal the deal, they walk. As to Mudryk’s readiness for the Premier League and suitability to the way the Gunners play, even though I have my doubts about the player, I’m prepared to trust Mikel Arteta and Edu’s judgment. They’ve done really well on big-number transfers in the last few windows.
Whatever the outcome — Arsenal buying Mudryk or not — I hope we get there quickly. The Gunners need attacking reinforcements, and if it’s not going to be the Ukrainian, it would be nice to know that earlier in the window so the club can turn their attention elsewhere.