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Club chief says Arsenal held multiple meetings over 'unbelievable' signing
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Club chief says Arsenal held multiple meetings over 'unbelievable' signing

Shakhtar Donetsk chief executive Sergei Palkin has told The Athletic that Arsenal held multiple meetings over signing Mykhaylo Mudryk before he ended up at Chelsea. 

Just a few days ago, Mikel Arteta looked like he was closing in on signing his top target in Mudryk. 

Football.London claimed last week that Arsenal were close to wrapping up a deal for the 21-year-old, with just add-ons left to negotiate with the Ukrainian outfit. 

Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

But the Gunners were left surprised over the weekend as their London rivals moved quickly to beat them to the signing. Mudryk was even unveiled as a Chelsea player at Stamford Bridge on Sunday after the Blues agreed to Shakhtar’s terms. 

Now, the Shakhtar CEO has shared some insight into what had been a fascinating transfer story over the past two weeks. And Palkin has revealed that at one point, Arsenal were indeed closer than Chelsea to signing the ‘extraordinary‘ winger. 

Arsenal held meetings over Mudryk 

The Athletic’s Adam Crafton asked Palkin about the moment he realised Mudryk would end up at Chelsea, rather than Arsenal. 

“I realised two days ago (Saturday) when Chelsea arrived here — the co-owner Behdad Eghbali and (director of global talent and transfers) Paul Winstanley,” he said. 

“They came to Antalya in Turkey (where Shakhtar have been at a training camp during their domestic season’s winter break). Before Chelsea arrived, I did not know they were close, because I communicated with Arsenal in the same way as I had with Chelsea. 

“Even I can tell you more: I met Arsenal more times than Chelsea. Therefore, before this last meeting, Arsenal was close, or a little bit closer to this deal than Chelsea.” 

Palkin also claims that Arsenal contacted Mudryk about a possible move to the Emirates before reaching out to Shakhtar, while Chelsea asked for permission to speak to the youngster beforehand. 

The CEO said the two London rivals offered the same overall fee for Mudryk, but suggested that the add-ons in Chelsea’s offer were deemed more achievable and realistic. 

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Arsenal will undoubtedly be disappointed to miss out on their top target this month but it seems that the deal came down to Chelsea’s willingness to meet Shakhtar’s demands. 

While Arteta will certainly need attacking reinforcements this month, Arsenal have shown that they will not pay over the odds for players. 

The Gunners are flying high at the moment and while missing out on Mudryk is a blow, it’s not the end of the world for Arteta. Arsenal will now have to move quickly in the last two weeks of the window to ensure the Spaniard has the necessary depth to maintain their place at the top of the Premier League.

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