I was dreaming this morning that Erling Haaland was a kind of vampire, and I kept shooting him in the chest and he wouldn’t die. Do we have any dream experts out there who could analyse what this means? I really can’t work it out … *cough* …
Lost somewhat (on the blog anyway), in the return of football and our win over West Ham, was the news that Arsenal had made an official bid for Mykhaylo Mudryk. Our interest in the player is well known and long-standing, but we also know that Shakhtar Donetsk value him very highly. As such, the initial bid of €40m + around €20m in add-ons has been rejected.
We keep hearing about the fee Man Utd paid for Antony as the benchmark, but as I’ve said previously, their stupidity shouldn’t have such an impact on the wider market. Perhaps the fact that PSV are set to sell Cody Gakpo to Liverpool for somewhere around €45m might re-calibrate things – but then we can’t also rule out United coming back in and paying a fortune for a player they thought they’d got, so that might skew things again.
The thing about Mudryk is that we’ve known for some time what Shakhtar’s public price is, but obviously feel there’s room for negotiation. As much as I’d like the player, I don’t think we should pay anything like what they want. It’s far too expensive, so it will be interesting to see what happens next. Will they be persuaded to accept less? It’s not as if there’s a bidding war (yet), and from everything we can see, the player himself is extremely keen to join and let the world know he’s interested in moving to North London.
So far, he has done an interview with Oleksandr Zinchenko’s wife (who is a TV presenter, it’s not just a random thing), and the other night he posted a picture on social media which showed he was watching our win over West Ham. Asked about it afterwards, Mikel Arteta was typically casual, saying:
It’s a good thing for England that you don’t have many other matches in other countries. We are the only ones playing through Christmas so hopefully, a lot of people watched our game and we gave them a good show.
I suspect that part of our strategy will be Mudryk’s desire to join, which couldn’t be more obvious. So much so that I expect further shows of his intentions over the coming days.
Wednesday: Mudryk posts an Instagram story in which he reveals his new puppy who he has called ‘Saliba’.
Thursday: A TikTok of him purchasing a top class set of barbecue tongs, with caption: “I wonder who I could give these to?!”
Friday: On Snapchat we see a scene of Mudryk at home, relaxing, constructing a Lego version of the Emirates Stadium. “Lego eh?!” he says, followed winky emoji + fall on the floor laughing emoji + innocent emoji with halo + hashtag #letmego
Saturday: Mudryk turns up for training wearing an Arsenal FC ‘Passion – Clarity – Energy’ t-shirt.
Sunday: Legally changes his name to Mykhaylo Dennis Patrick Thierry Raymond Gabriel Highbury Andre-Santos Mudryk.
Monday: Reveals a new tattoo on the other side of his ‘Only Jesus’ neck etching, which says, “I believe in Eddie”.
The possibilities are endless. Whether that will have any impact at all on the Shakhtar’s stance we’ll have to wait and see. In seriousness though, there must be some confidence on Arsenal’s part that a deal can be done, but it does look as if this could go on a while. Which adds another layer to things because we know the manager wants reinforcement as early as possible, and there are some difficult games coming up in January.
Staying serious, the arrival of Mudryk addresses another key issue: depth. I’m not as worried about Eddie Nketiah’s ability to score goals as some, but where I do worry is that he is the only centre-forward we’ve got. Signing a winger doesn’t directly solve that problem, but having someone else to play on the left would allow us to use Gabriel Martinelli at centre-forward if that was required. In reality, he’s about the only internal solution we have available to us right now, but a knock or a suspension for Eddie and we’re stretched on the left too, especially with Emile Smith Rowe yet to return to action. Let’s see how quickly we can find some agreement with Shakhtar.
Anyway, there’s plenty of discussion of Mudryk, Nketiah and what we might do in the transfer market on the latest Arsecast Extra which is available below. If there’s anything stirring, we’ll cover it for you on Arseblog News.
Tuesday: Mudryk releases his new single, a mash-up of North London Forever and So Paddy Got Up. It hits number 1 in seconds as Arsenal Twitter does its thing.