Reported Arsenal interest in Shakhtar Donestsk star Mykhaylo Mudryk has been given a serious thumbs up – and one observer reckons a current Gunners star can play a key role in luring him to Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made a raft of summer signings to strengthen his squad, spending to the tune of £118m. Indeed, the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchecnko have already had a positive impact on the side. And with five wins from their six Premier League games played, the Gunners sit nicely atop of the Premier League table.
Despite the optimism around Arsenal right now, there were still a couple of positions that they club failed to address. For one, they also wanted to strengthen their central midfield options. To that end, a deadline-day offer for Douglas Luiz fell short, with Aston Villa rejecting their approach.
Another position Arteta and Edu failed to address was their wing options. With Nicolas Pepe departing on a season’s loan to Nice, Arsenal have room in their side for another addition.
They did try and bring in Raphinha from Leeds, only for the Brazilian to reject their approach. The then-Leeds star only had eyes for Barcelona, as Chelsea also found out to their cost.
But more laterly in the window, the Gunners were also reportedly tracking Shakhtar winger Mudryk.
Indeed, Arsenal reportedly chanced their arm with a £25m approach in the closing days, though that was rejected by the Ukrainian side.
The 21-year-old has a growing reputation in the European game, however. And that was in evidence last week when he scored one and assisted two in a thumping 4-1 win over RB Leipzig.
Mykhaylo Mudryk has what Arsenal need claims pundit
Mudryk’s growing reputation will ensure Arsenal are not the only side keeping a close eye on the winger.
However, former Gunners star Kevin Campbell is adamant he has what it takes to succeed in the Premier League.
And he reckons the player will be keen on a move to Emirates Stadium should the opportunity arise.
“I like him. I’ve seen a few games of his. Not a lot. But whenever I’ve seen him, he’s looked lively, he’s looked good. Young lad, very gifted,” he told Highbury Squad.
“I truly believe he is the right profile for Arsenal. He seems to have a great attitude. Again, I think he likes the Arsenal.”
The Gunners could also have an ace up their sleeve in Zinchenko. The versatile star switched from Manchester City to Arsenal earlier this summer.
And, as the captain of the Ukraine national side, he might just have a word with Mudryk about the delights of playing for Arsenal.
Campbell added: “So he’s probably ringing Zinny and saying ‘speak to the manager, get me over there’. He’s doing pretty well for himself at Shakhtar. He’s looking the part.
“Now he’s been linked to Arsenal, everybody’s watching him. I’d like Arsenal to have all the weapons. So no matter what, we could chop and change, and we’re still strong.”
Winger looks the part – but price will have to be right
Mudryk looks a serious talent and a player well equipped to shine in the Premier League.
However, after seeing a £25m approach knocked back at the back end of the window, Arsenal will be wary of his fee. His exploits in the Champions League will only push that price tag north.
Indeed, Shakhtar are reportedly demanding a fee of around £43m (€50m) for the 21-year-old’s departure in January. That might be more than the Gunners are prepared to spend, especially with midfield additions also on their mind.
The Gunners have also been stung on that front before, with Pepe costing a club-record £72m but rarely looking worth that investment.
As such, Edu will think extremely carefully before lavishing such huge sums again on players ‘unproven’ in the Premier League.
However, at 21, Mykhaylo Mudryk certainly fits the profile of young, hungry and talented player that Arsenal are looking for.
If they can meet Shakhtar somewhere in the middle, then a January swoop for the Ukrainian star cannot be ruled out.