The Mykhaylo Mudryk transfer saga was one of the most craziest moves of all-time. Because the ending was unexpected, but this whole story has been full of twists and turns for months, even years.
To think that more than a year ago, the director of Brentford, Lee Dykes, already wanted to bring Mykhaylo to the Premier League in a very advanced negotiation with Shakhtar Donetsk but never really concluded.
The war in Ukraine changed the scenario because other clubs tried to insert themselves during last summer by trying a surprise deal: Bayer Leverkusen wanted him for €20m, while in the final days of the summer transfer window Everton tried to convince the Shakhtar Donetsk with €30m plus add-ons.
No way, because the Ukrainian club was already asking more than €50m to sell its star.
Yet it was precisely in the last days of August that Arsenal came up with the idea of attacking Mykhaylo Mudryk as top target for the future: Mikel Arteta had begun to find out about the player through some friends who followed him closely at Shakhtar, Arsenal however end of August they never made official proposals but preferred to wait.
And the good news for Shakhtar was a Champions League group played at excellent levels by Mykhaylo: from the Bernabéu to Celtic Park, the Ukrainian star made it clear to all the clubs that he was really ready to make a difference and so the contacts started for a transfer of Mudryk already in the January transfer market, instead of waiting for the summer of 2023.
Shakhtar had always asked for more than €50m in the summer; but after Mudryk's super Champions League, the club publicly and privately dubbed Mykhaylo a €100m future star.
No intention of accepting less than this amount, at the cost of waiting for June or July to sell it. Arsenal have tried in every way to approach the requests of the Ukrainian club with three official offers between December and January; the latest came last Thursday when the London club offered a €70m guaranteed fee plus €25m add-ons to seal the deal.
But Shakhtar Donetsk took their time because they wanted guarantees on a total fee of €100m, add ons included.
So Chelsea entered the scene with a very quick but effective move: after a meeting in London between Shakhtar director Darijo Srna and Todd Boehly before and after the Chelsea vs Manchester City game at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea decided to wait because they knew that the player's priority was to sign with Arsenal.
But when they realized Arsenal weren't offering the €100m guaranteed fee wanted by Shakhtar, the Blues burst into the picture with a mission to Donetsk's training camp to meet with Ukrainian officials on Saturday morning.
The meeting was quick and effective because Chelsea really offered the €100m package with add-ons included; Shakhtar agreed after an in-person meeting with members of the Chelsea board, immediately arranging another meeting between Mykhaylo Mudryk's agents and Chelsea to understand his decision on the club.
🚨 EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea board now in Poland trying to reach verbal agreement with Shakhtar for Mudryk and hijack the deal! Official bid ready close to €100m. 🔵 #CFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 14, 2023
Arsenal always been leading the race, in talks with Shakhtar after 3d official bid.
Mudryk position, now crucial. pic.twitter.com/CwWWerfoQ8
Mykhaylo's dream has always been Arsenal, which is why the Blues immediately wanted to make sure they could change his mind also thanks to a top secret conversation with Graham Potter.
Arsenal have not panicked in the face of this situation: the club's strategy and vision are the priority, the club will never overpay any player as happened in the past with Vlahovic, Locatelli, Raphinha or Lisandro Martinez.
They feel they did their best to sign Mudryk with a very important bid to Shakhtar and to the player; but Arsenal don't enter any bid war because the approach is different and the club will maintain sound management for present and future.
So Mudryk said yes to Chelsea for a contract until 30 June 2030, flight to London already on Saturday evening and medical tests in the morning to be presented at Stamford Bridge before the Crystal Palace game.
The plan worked. Chelsea have their new star.