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Mykhaylo Mudryk to Arsenal transfer rumor

The Ukrainian Neymar, you say?

FC Internazionale v Shakhtar Donetsk: Group D - UEFA Champions League Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Arsenal are interested in Mykhaylo Mudryk, Shakhtar Donetsk’s 21-year old, pacey, left-footed winger. The Gunners have been in the market all summer for additional firepower on the wing to rotate with Bukayo Saka. They missed out on Raphinha. A move for Pedro Neto seems unlikely at this point because Wolves’ asking price is too high (and they’re reluctant to move him anyway).

It seems as if Mikel Arteta and Edu have moved onto another target, Mudryk. Everton are also in the running for his services and have reportedly had a £25M bid rejected by Shakhtar. The Ukranian side reportedly want £30M for their young winger, although Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports Goalazo reports they only want £25M. Jacobs further reports that Arsenal and Shakhtar are £10M apart in valuation. So who knows.

Arsenal are interested. How close a deal might be and at what price is anybody’s guess.

Data from the Ukrainian Premier League is hard to come by and advanced stats from it are virtually non-existent, so it’s tough to get a read on Mudryk without watching him. Imagine watching footballers play. Wild, right?

In a small sample size of 11 appearances over the 18 matches Shakhtar played last season, Mudryk led the league in assists/90, was 10th in goals/90, and was 1st in goals + assists/90. He’s a good dribbler and he’s fast. It seems like he’s got the tools to be a threat from wide, and if the Arsenal scouts like him, that’s good enough for me.

Another small perk: he would count as an U21 player this season, totally avoiding the Premier League homegrown rules. Not that Arsenal have a homegrown issue anyway — they can register four overage, non-homegrown players as it stands. That he’s young is the more important part — he fits perfectly with the overall recruitment strategy at Arsenal.

There is the small matter of Arsenal’s finances, however. The club say they’re in compliance with Financial Fair Play and outside analysts agree, but at this point, they have to be mindful of the regulations. David Ornstein believes that the Gunners can only make one additional signing before the close of the window. With the injuries at the base of the midfield (Zinchenko short term, Partey a few weeks, and Elneny potentially serious), the Gunners may be forced to choose between buying a player for the center of the park or buying a winger.

Then again, it’s the transfer window. Arsenal could buy at both positions. Or neither. Maybe a completely different, unheralded player at a third position. But they’ve gotta do it before Thursday evening!