The Gunners were the first on the scene after Mudryk’s emergence and had been in talks with the player’s representatives as well as people from Shakhtar. Despite having two bids turned down for the young forward, there was a sense that things were close to being finalised.
Mudryk himself had spoken positively of Arsenal in the past and showed great enthusiasm to play under Mikel Arteta. However, Chelsea barged in on the talks in the last month with a higher offer to turn the heads of all involved.
On Saturday, Shakhtar Donetsk confirmed via their Twitter handle that both clubs have almost finalised an agreement which will see Mudryk move to Chelsea instead of Arsenal.
The Ukrainian giants’ statement on Twitter read: “FC Shakhtar president Rinat Akhmetov and Chelsea co-owner Behdad Eghbali discussed Mykhailo Mudryk’s transfer to Chelsea FC today.
Parties are very close to agree on player’s transfer to the club.”
Reports claim that Chelsea’s hierarchy visited Shakhtar’s training camp in Turkey personally for the deal, which swayed things in their favour. The reports also stated that the major reason Chelsea beat Arsenal to the deal was the add-ons and bonuses offered to Shakhtar for Mudryk, as their actual transfer fee offering for the winger was similar to their London rivals.
The Blues are now set to offer Mudryk a seven-year contract with a huge salary.
Mudryk, who was named Shakhtar’s player of the year and won the award for the best goal of the year, will join Benoit Badiashile, David Fofana and Andrey Santos as Chelsea’s January signings. The club also brought in João Felix from Atlético de Madrid on loan as they look to improve their fortunes in the Premier League this season.
All of this is despite Mudryk insisting that Shakhtar continues talks with Arsenal as his desire remains to play under Arteta.
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano made this claim just as news of Shakhtar and Chelsea’s pre-agreement was being broken by the Ukrainian club and the details were being fleshed out by other reporters.
Romano tweeted: “New direct contacts will take place in the next hours for Mudryk deal. Arsenal will discuss with Shakhtar about add-ons structure after £62m (€70m) bid plus £22.1m (€25m) #AFC.
“Arsenal want to get it done as soon as possible, player insisting too – personal terms already agreed.”
Arsenal’s offer is between £75 million and £80 million. It would make him the club’s most expensive transfer of all time, surpassing the £72 million they paid for Nicolas Pepe in 2019.
It remains to be seen who prevails: Shakhtar’s need to cash in on Mudryk, or the winger’s desire to play for Arsenal.