Newcastle copy Chelsea and try to pinch Arsenal alternative Mudryk ‘loved by Edu’

Arsenal could see another stolen target under their noses before the end of the month.

Newcastle United could follow in Chelsea’s footsteps by securing a transfer from Arsenal this month amid reports that the Magpies are eyeing winger Moussa Diaby. Gunners sporting director Edu is still pushing to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk but there is no guarantee the move will take place in January as Shakhtar Donetsk hope for a hefty fee.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta needs a winger before the end of the month, one way or another, with depth of squad issues that threaten to derail his bid for the Premier League title. Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli have excelled on the flanks this season, but the Gunners have little in the way of reserve quality, and Mudryk is expected to challenge the existing pecking order.

The Ukrainian is still relatively new to senior football, but he has set the pitch on fire this campaign with five goals in six Champions League games. Arsenal are believed to be leading the race for his signature, with Shakhtar keen to reduce his initial £88m valuation.

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With plenty of time left in the month for turnarounds, Mudryk’s move to the Emirates is far from guaranteed and Edu might be wise not to scrap his list of backup transfer options just yet.

Arsenal were credited with interest in Bayer Leverkusen star Diaby over the summer and he would likely be an option to explore if the move to Mudryk falls through. The 23-year-old is now in his fourth season as a Bundesliga regular and his scoring prowess continues to improve, with six in the league so far this season.

According to German newspaper Bild, however, Newcastle are weighing a potential Diaby buy, which could leave Arsenal with an ever-dwindling list of options to choose from should Shakhtar block a deal for Mudryk. Diaby is believed to have a longtime admirer in Edu, who has followed the France international since the summer.

Newcastle gearing up to lock up the Leverkusen star would be reminiscent of Chelsea’s efforts to sign Joao Felix in recent days. Arsenal reportedly held talks with the Atletico Madrid star’s representatives but held off on meeting the club’s loan demands, only for the Blues to step in and strike a deal.

Chelsea’s rapid progress with Felix and Newcastle threatening to follow suit with Diaby only increases the pressure on Edu to force a deal for Mudryk before the window closeeeeeeeeeeeees. Although the 22-year-old does not fit directly into Arteta’s XI, he has a bright future and Shakhtar boss Darijo Srna already believes he will be up there with the best wingers on the planet.

“We got an offer of £26m [from Everton in the summer],” Srna admitted to CBS Sports. “And when our chairman doesn’t sell a player for £26m, especially in such difficult times, he is sending a message to everyone that he wants to progress in the Champions League and win the championship.

“Mudryk is a serious talent. After Kylian Mbappé and Vinicius Jr, he is the best player in Europe in his position. If someone wants to buy Mudryk, they must spend a lot, a lot, a lot of money and respect our club and our president.”

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