Premier League

EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal aren’t worried about Chelsea’s Mudryk interest, writes Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs
Mykhailo Mudryk, Shakhtar Donetsk, Arsenal, 2022/23

Chelsea have entered the race to sign Arsenal’s top transfer target Mykhailo Mudryk, but the Gunners shouldn’t be too worried about missing out on the Ukrainian according to Ben Jacobs, speaking exclusively to

Mudryk’s asking price has skyrocketed since the summer after three goals and two assists in six Champions League outings with Shakhtar Donetsk, and the Gunners recently had a €62 million bid turned down.

Shakhtar sporting director Dario Srna was in Todd Boehly’s personal box at Stamford Bridge as the Blues lost 1-0 to Manchester City on Thursday, but speaking exclusively to, transfer specialist Ben Jacobs says the Gunners have nothing to worry about…

READ: Chelsea step up Mudryk transfer after Shakhtar chief attends Man City game

What did Ben Jacobs say?

“Arsenal feel like the Mykhailo Mudryk situation is in their control and that’s because they’ve always had a top-end valuation and if they were to meet it – and they haven’t yet – then if Shakhtar reject, they were always going to walk away, which give Arsenal significant belief that Chelsea can’t influence the situation.

“If Chelsea were to bid higher than Arsenal’s last offer, then should Arsenal see that as still in keeping with their own valuation, they will equal it, and go as high as they’re prepared to go.

“If Chelsea were prepared to table something far bigger, such as the €100 million that Shakhtar are quoting in public, then Arsenal were never going to entertain that kind of figure and Chelsea would, therefore, pay wildly above market value and end up being the only suitor who had an accepted offer.

READ: How Chelsea could line up with Mudryk

“But Arsenal don’t think that’s going to happen and Chelsea are not likely to start off with that kind of amount. And if we’ve learned one thing from the Enzo Fernandez saga with Chelsea, it’s that there will be a lot of noise, a lot of hype, a lot of games, PR about Chelsea chucking crazy sums of money around, but the reality is they’re being quite shrewd with their offers and they’re low-balling, and I expect nothing different with Mykhailo Mudryk.

“I would be very surprised if Chelsea enter into any kind of conversations with Shakhtar significantly above Arsenal’s own valuation and that’s the Arsenal feeling as well, which is why they’re not too worried a hijack. There remains optimism at the Arsenal end that they can get a deal done.

“Even though Shakhtar are, at the time of recording, about to meet Chelsea, they’re also going to be having more direct talks with Arsenal as well, and it’s common sense to conclude that after a meeting with Chelsea, Shakhtar will be able to leverage that interest, and or offer, depending on what happens, to get the best possible deal from Arsenal.

Arsenal’s opening bid explained

“But I think what people don’t realise with the Mudryk deal is that Arsenal’s opening bid was a marker. Which means they expected to have a rejection, but it was an extremely competitive number and then the second offer has been improved with slightly more upfront. It’s still under €70m.

“When you consider that Mykhailo Mudryk got an offer from Everton for €30m over the summer, and now Arsenal’s bid is double that, it tells you that Shakhtar have got good value for Mudryk, because in the space of five months, and after some excellent Champions League performances, the actual physical offer value – forget market value – the actual physical offers that have been placed, between Arsenal’s current bid and Everton over the summer there is around €35m difference.

“So it is good value for Shakhtar, but obviously they’re valuing Mudryk based on the fact that they see huge potential in him. They don’t think the value’s going to drop over time if they hang onto him for a bit longer and they believe that he’s one of the best players in his position, which is why publicly they’re quoting around €100m and privately they’re still pushing for €80m/€85m. Arsenal would prefer to be around €70m/€75m. That’s where they’re comfortable. That’s what they think is market value, pushing a top end, and they still haven’t quite gone that high. And then we wait and see how Chelsea influences the situation but there is still a belief at the Arsenal end that they can get a deal done and there is obviously that key buy-in from the player.

Mudryk has five goal-involvements from six Champions League games this season.

Mudryk has five goal-involvements from six Champions League games this season.

“They know that Mudryk wants Arsenal. There’s a FreeMudryk hashtag going around that Mudryk’s been liking. He’s been watching the Arsenal games. He’s been speaking to Zinchenko, he’s been dropping hints left, right and centre that he wants Arsenal, and when I spoke to Mudryk he told me directly and on record a few months back that he can’t say ‘no’ to Arsenal. So the problem isn’t Mudryk, the problem is agreeing a package with Shakhtar.

“That’s where Chelsea obviously complicates things but again I come back to what I said before: Arsenal are not looking to react to Chelsea; Arsenal are looking to stick to their own tactic. And if it gets to a point where they hit their top-end number and it is not accepted, then they were always going to walk away, regardless of whether Chelsea do or do not have an offer accepted, and it’s too premature to second guess what Chelsea are going to do, because they haven’t held yet, at the time of recording, their significant meetings with Shakhtar.

“So Shakhtar being at Stamford Bridge for the Manchester City game makes a bit of a statement, it obviously is part of a game whereby Shakhtar are trying to create a bidding war and Arsenal are trying to avoid a bidding war.

“So the situation is very intriguing, and will be defined on how genuine Chelsea are in their desire to bid and obviously to some extent what that number is, but I would still be very, very surprised if Chelsea – regardless of what Shakhtar may intimate or brief to Arsenal – bid anything significantly above what Arsenal are prepared to go to.

“Like we saw with Enzo Fernandez, the Chelsea approach, despite the noise, has always been not to be held to ransom and if they’re not held to ransom, then their offer is not going to be €100m which will continue to give Arsenal hope.”

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