It is not every day that Ukraine can boast one of the most highly-sought after players across the continent, and not since the days of the emerging Andriy Shevchenko has the Eastern European nation played host to a bright talent that could define a generation.
But that is very much the feeling that currently surrounds 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk wonderkid Mykhailo Mudryk after the club academy product has come on leaps and bounds in the last twelve months on the back of fantastic performances both at home and in the Champions League, with leading Premier League outfits Arsenal and Chelsea now locked in potential transfer conflict for his services.
For Mudryk the situation is clear; he wants a move to Arsenal while linking up with countrymen and international colleague Oleksandr Zinchenko. But despite his clear desire to move to north London, Arsenal has yet to submit a bid matching Shakhtar’s very public aims of extracting maximum valuation for their player, which would amount to a club record fee for the Gunners.
As the situation has dragged on, the Blues have gained increased interest in Mudryk of their own, and with their possible deal for SL Benfica starlet Enzo Fernández possibly dead in the water, funds could be available to make a big bid for the left-winger that would force Arsenal’s hand one way or another.
None of that will matter from a Shakhtar perspective after vice director Carlo Nicolini reaffirmed the club’s position in how they value the gifted forward, with quotes provided by football insider Fabrizio Romano by way of Calcio Napoli 24 detailing Shakhtar insisting they are not in a position to force a sale that is not on their terms.
“We’re not in a hurry to sell Mudryk, we don’t need money…we consider Mykhaylo stronger than Antony so you can now understand the value. The price tag is clear.”
Sources close to Arsenal still maintain the feeling that a deal will ultimately be struck between the two clubs given the player’s insistence on getting a move to the capital, with the Ukrainian outfit not likely to receive a fee anywhere in the region of what Ajax was gifted by Manchester United in what is unquestionably a financially saturated transfer market.
But that has still not stopped Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly from trying to strongarm his way to the negotiating table after Shakhtar sporting director Dario Srna was spotted at dinner in London with former clubmates Eduardo and Willian ahead of attending Chelsea’s clash with Manchester City later this evening as the pair are set to talk about a possible deal for the Blues.
Unless Arsenal moves quickly to find agreeable terms, a possible bidding war - or even the Gunners having to move on to other targets - could potentially railroad the club’s chances at securing a player that Mikel Artera and Edu Gaspar view as possibly generational.