The Gunners take on Chelsea this weekend and will get the chance to see what might have been if Mykhailo Mudryk had joined them in January

Edu proven right on unpopular £88m transfer decision as Arsenal policy works yet again
The Gunners take on Chelsea this weekend and will get the chance to see what might have been if Mykhailo Mudryk had joined them in January

ByKaya KaynakChief Arsenal writer
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 02: The beam of a Green Laser is seen hitting the body of Mykhaylo Mudryk of Chelsea as they run with the ball during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on May 02, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s transfer decision on Mykhailo Mudryk has had wide-ranging impacts on their future transfer dealings. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

It had seemed as though it was a matter of time before Mykhailo Mudryk would become an Arsenal player. For one thing the player’s social media activity had indicated that he was clearly in favour of a switch to North London. There were few concerns over personal terms.

The stumbling block instead came from dealings with Shakhtar Donetsk. The Ukrainian side are notoriously tough negotiators, and made it clear from the outset that they wanted a fee of around £88million for the 22-year-old.

Despite that though, talks were thought to be progressing well. Arsenal went in with an original bid that was around £55million in late December, but this was thought to be just in order to kick negotiations off. Talks then continued between the Gunners and Shakhtar and there was confidence that they were getting close to a deal.

Then at last moment came the late bid from Chelsea. It is thought that this was in the region of the original £88million Shakhtar were asking for, including possible add-ons.. Arsenal had consistently stated that they would not be dragged into a bidding war and refused to go that high.

At the time the decision prompted a deluge of criticism for sporting director Edu Gaspar. The Brazilian had helped deliver Mikel Arteta a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title, but many thought Mudryk could be the man to push them over the line.

Clearly there were voices inside Arsenal who agreed. It is understood that Stan and Josh Kroenke had indicated a willingness to provide Edu and Arteta with the funds to match Chelsea’s bid, but the decision was taken to walk away from negotiations. Arsenal have made some pretty smart decisions in the transfer market over the past few years, but that may just have been the best one of them all.

Many will think this is because Mudryk has struggled in his first few months at Chelsea. The Ukrainian has just one goal so far and has struggled to find consistency at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal meanwhile went on to sign Leandro Trossard for just £21million. The Belgian went on to register 10 assists in just 10 starts, and has already provided crucial goals this season against Manchester City in the Community Shield and Everton in the Premier League.

But the impact of Edu’s decision with Mudryk in January is not restricted to the isolated instance of this one transfer. Instead it’s the wider repercussions that it has for Arsenal in the transfer market.

The Gunners have consistently shown that they will not be held to ransom when looking to buy players. Last summer they were in talks to sign Lisandro Martinez from Ajax but chose to walk away when the price became what was deemed unreasonable. In that same January Arsenal also showed an interest in Joao Felix, but it is understood that the club walked away from negotiations immediately when Atletico Madrid quoted a loan fee believed to be in the region of £9.7million, on top of his high wages. This willingness to walk away is a key card to play in any negotiations and arguably gives you the strongest chance of getting good value for future transfers.

Arsenal can legitimately go to a club and say take it or leave it with a lowball offer, which is something Chelsea cannot do. Manchester United are another side cursed by previous overpayments on players like Antony that make finding value in the market nigh on impossible.

With all this congratulatory talk it seems almost inevitable that Mudryk will score when Arsenal meet Chelsea on Saturday and Trossard will drop a stinker. But even if the Ukrainian plays the game of his life, it will not change the fact that the Gunners sit in a superior position in the transfer market than their rivals thanks to that unpopular decision they took back in January.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *