Arsenal could end up losing out on prime January target Mykhaylo Mudryk amid claims Newcastle are plotting a sensational swoop for him.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has reportedly recommended Mudryk, his fellow Ukraine national team player, to Arsenal. And this has seen Gunners technical director Edu begin talks over the left winger’s signing.
According to reports on Thursday, Edu got the ball rolling by submitting a proposal to Shakhtar Donetsk for Mudryk. It comes in at close to Shakhtar’s €60million (£52.3m) asking price.
Negotiations between Arsenal and Shakhtar are now in the ‘decisive’ phase, meaning an agreement could be struck in the coming weeks.
This has put Arsenal in pole position to land the highly rated wide man. However, there is now a major threat looming for the transfer.
And he could end up being Newcastle’s record signing. That achievement is currently held by Swedish striker Alexander Isak following his £60m switch from Real Sociedad in August.
While Newcastle are initially looking to sign Mudryk for £50m, the report claims there is a chance he will end up costing more than £60m.
Newcastle owners sanction big spending on winger
Newcastle’s swoop comes after Eddie Howe got the green light from the club’s owners, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, to spend big in January.
This means Newcastle will be able to blow Arsenal out of the water for Mudryk, should it come down to that.
However, the eight-time Ukraine international will probably be Newcastle’s only big-name arrival this winter. Magpies chiefs are wary of Financial Fair Play regulations and don’t want to spend over £100m in January as a result.
Arsenal will be extremely wary of Newcastle’s approach for Mudryk. While Edu has money to play with, he does not have the endless backing like those at St James’ Park do.
As such, Edu will have to be clever when trying to convince Shakhtar to sell to Arsenal. And he will have to be similarly clever when enticing Mudryk to join Arsenal over Newcastle.
One factor he could point to is Arsenal being ahead of Newcastle in the Premier League table. Mikel Arteta’s side occupy top spot after winning 11 of their 13 league games so far.
They look like the only side capable of putting Manchester City under serious pressure at this moment in time. And Edu could use this as a big selling point when trying to convince Mudryk to sign.
Newcastle are doing well themselves though, sitting in third place on 27 points. They are on a massive upward trajectory and it surely won’t be long before they emerge as true rivals to Arsenal and City.
This means the Gunners have a relatively short window if they want to get to Mudryk’s services before Newcastle.