Arsenal transfer news: The Gunners are keen on a deal for Shakhtar Donetsk star Mykhaylo Mudryk in January but Chelsea have emerged as rivals for the winger’s signature.
American businessmen Stan Kroenke and Todd Boehly are set to go head-to-head for Shakhtar Donetsk star Mykhaylo Mudryk as their respective clubs intensify efforts to sign the talented winger.
It’s believed Arsenal have been in the driving seat to secure Mudryk’s signature for some time after the player publicly expressed his desire to join the north London side having originally been linked with a move last summer.
We understand the Gunners finally made their move for the Ukrainian by submitting an opening bid worth £55million including add ons last week, which was subsequently rebuffed by Shakhtar, who are said to be holding out for a fee in the region of £85million.
In the hope a compromise could be reached, Arsenal returned to the table with an improved offer on Monday, though that is also expected to be rejected. Since then, various reports have suggested that Chelsea owner Todd Boehly held talks with Shakhtar Donetsk director Darijo Srna on Thursday as he explores a possible deal for the forward.
Srna was spotted just a few yards away from Boehly, as the pair watched Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester City from the Stamford Bridge stands. The outcome of their meeting is not yet known, although injuries to Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic would have no doubt made Boehly keen to strike a deal between clubs.
Boehly has not been afraid to open up his chequebook since completing the takeover of the Blues in May of last year, spending around £316million so far. That figure could soon rise significantly should Enzo Fernandez join Chelsea for a Premier League record fee of £112million.
With Arsenal haggling over Mudryk’s price tag, Boehly may see this as an opportunity to blow them out of the water with a bid that meets Shakhtar’s demands. The 49-year-old also tried to pip Arsenal to Raphinha prior to his move to Barcelona and was prepared to offer more money in an attempt to win the race.
It’s a development which is unlikely to go down well with the Gunners, who are wanting to avoid a bidding war. Fellow American owner Stan Kroenke is ready to back manager Mikel Arteta this winter, but the emphasis will remain on spending wisely.
Like Boehly, Kroenke has also dipped into his pockets of late, contributing to Arsenal’s £270million expenditure over the past two summer windows. With the club ahead of schedule, KSE will know that this month can play a crucial part in the outcome of the season and Arsenal’s title bid.
The Gunners currently find themselves five points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table and through to the last 16 of the Europa League, however, serious injuries to Gabriel Jesus and Reiss Nelson have left attacking options worryingly short.
Despite Shakhtar playing hardball and Boehly looking to complicate a potential deal, Arsenal can remain encouraged by the fact that Mudryk’s preference, as it stands, is to join them over anyone else.
“It’s hard to say but Arsenal is a very good team, very good coach,” he told CBS Sports Golazo in September. “I like the way they play. From my side I can’t say no (to Arsenal) but a transfer is not just up to my decision.”
Two months later, Mudryk took part in an interview with Oleksandr Zinchenko’s wife, Vlada Sedan, in which he continued to praise Arsenal and hint at a future transfer. Mudryk also admitted he would choose to move to Arsenal instead of a club like Real Madrid and confirmed that the prospect of playing alongside Ukrainian teammate Zinchenko encourages him.
If his very telling quotes were not enough to suggest he wants a move to the Emirates Stadium, then Mudryk’s recent Instagram activity would have all but confirmed his intentions.
The 22-year-old labelled Arteta as a ‘top coach’ in one of two stories uploaded of the north London side in action over the festive period, as well as liking several images posted by Arsenal fan accounts, again reiterating his admiration for the club and its manager.
Boehly may have the financial power to pose somewhat of a threat to the Gunners’ transfer plans, but what he doesn’t currently have is the player’s agreement, handing Kroenke – and Arsenal – a huge advantage in what is an ongoing battle between club and billionaire rivals.