Arsenal fans mustn’t compare hungry Mudryk with Pepe’s inability to adapt

Why Mudryk will succeed where Pepe failed by Chris Reid

As with any Arsenal fan, I have been following the Mykhailo Mudryk transfer saga closely. Well, to be honest more obsessively; checking Twitter hourly for any updates from David Ornstein or Frabrizio Romano.

I feel like I have gone back and forth on this one: are we paying too much for a young player who is relatively unproven? Are there better alternatives to maximize our fiscally responsible approach to spending?

I’ve watched the highlights of Mudryk’s skills again and again showcased in the Ukrainian Premier League, but skills and fancy footwork don’t always translate to success in the Premier League. Comparisons to the exorbitant transfer fee for Pepe are still fresh in our memory.

Hindsight is, of course, 20/20, and it is easy to find the flaws in Pepe’s transfer.  One fantastic campaign with Lille convinced Uni Emery and co. that he was the elite winger that we needed at the club. An August that saw 9 first team players leave, and 6 new arrivals made it quite the tumultuous transfer window. Added on top of that was the Emery would only last a few months before being sacked. This ushered us into the second golden age of the 21st century: Mikel Arteta’s reign. The squad in 2019 was not fitting to Arteta’s plan and unfortunately the talented Pepe was a victim of his inability to adapt to a new and demanding manager.

Mudryk is not in that position. I can’t recall the last time that a player was so adamant on joining the Gunners, and it is refreshing to see.  Mudryk shows a hunger on the field, and clearly has the combination of youth, work ethic, and being a team player that fits exactly what Arteta is looking for to continue to build our young squad.

Shakhtar Donetsk have their reasons for such a high fee for a player with only 29 senior appearances for the club and 8 for his country. They are notorious for doing shrewd business and demanding high fees for players.  But this is also due to clubs that overpay for players and inflate the market. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but Manchester United paying up to £86 million for Anthony is not helping our cause.

Ultimately we will be paying a very high fee for a young player based off of his electric performances in the Champions League; however, this is not Pepe again. Mudryk will come into a close knit squad, play in front of united and supportive fans, and be able to work himself into his role on the team.

We are certainly not expecting Mudryk to come in and carry the squad. We already have the foundation of a great squad. We are competing now at a high level and will only get better in the coming seasons. We are bringing in a young, hungry, and talented player to grow and be a significant contributor for us for years to come. This is not the kind of deal that must have massive impacts on this season, but it will certainly have huge returns over the coming campaigns.

I’m not implying that Mudryk will not be fantastic for us and much needed depth for the remainder of this campaign. I see him having a great impact on our squad, but I see the long-term value and the consistency of Edu’s vision for the future of Arsenal.

Chris Reid


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67 Comments

  1. Correction. Unai Emery has publicly said he never wanted Pepe and instead the player he wanted was Wilfred Zaha. Unless you know something I don’t. This Mudryk fellow might be fantastic but he doesn’t address the weaknesses in central midlifield. We all know Thomas Parteys injury record

    1. Absolutely correct! Emery did not want Pepe at all but had him dumped onto Arsenal by both the now disgraced Raul Sanllehi and Edu. There has been some suggestion that shared agents were involved, but I’m sure Ed…..😱

    2. I just want understand why the board are not talking about a DM considering Pathey”s injury concern. Only Elneny is our assistant DM

    3. Ì do think Mudryk signing will be good in the but can’t help feeling a little nervous due to the price tag associated.

      It’s a strategy in my opinion why we haven’t been link with actively getting in a midfielder yet once clubs learned of our intrest in other players from Mudryk , they will start to put a figure to our war chest, could even further complicate Mudryk deal as well.

  2. Very good write-up. I certainly believe that Mudryk would be a solid addition for us especially when he has adapted to the league in subsequent seasons. And for the records, Emery wanted Zaha not Pepe. Just like he wanted Maguire and got David Luiz. He wanted Partey and got Torreira

    1. And as a sidenote, while I’m certainly happy that we’ve gotten our man, I do believe that we have really overpaid for him. He’s already our record signing. He will have to rack up the stats to justify that pricetag, else we will have a worse case of Pepe 2.0 on our hands

      1. So “we’ve gotten our man”?
        And you guys always say no cover for Partey but I believe Elneny is a good backup even though he isn’t up to TP’s standard(only few are up to it though). ME had a player following him around all through till Xhaka and Zink came on. Arteta wanted Luiz only because both Partey and Mo were injured simultaneously not because there wasn’t a cover. I still expect Mo’s contract to be renewed this season too

  3. I hope we are not paying that 86 something.
    He’s a good player but for not he would be an addition but not to completely takeover from Saka or Martinelli.

    1. I was thinking that United could do us a favour but that selection is far from getting a point. Hope I’m wrong.

  4. We won’t know if we’ve overpaid, until he actually signs and starts playing for us!!

    One way of looking at it is that we paid a reported £7,000,000 for Martinelli, Saka cost us nothing, as did ESR.

    So, if we are signing a player of that calibre, let’s say the combined total of these four players is £100,000,000 (rounded up) then we are looking at the future attacking force of The Arsenal for years to come at a individual cost of £25,000,000!!!
    Add in Jesus for a “measly” reported £40,000,000 and the figure rises to £30,000,000….

    Carry on with the excellent work MA and Edu.

    1. You could look at it that way, but say we could get someone similar to Mudryk for a more reasonable price, given his level of experience, that average number would look even better and allow us more funds for other positions – given the key term there is “reasonable” (I would think £50m absolute max – especially considering we managed to get martinelli for so little), that’s really what we *should* be aiming for from a financial perspective.
      I can only imagine the reason we are continuing to pursue Mudryk is that we’ve identified him as a really special player, or one who can become really special quite quickly – there’d be no reason to go this high otherwise.

      1. If you want top players, you have to pay top money.
        MA and Edu seem to believe that Mudryk is a top player.
        By casting the net to include “lesser” players, is not something that the top clubs do.

    2. Whilst I believe the price tag is crazy, but I have to agree with your logic, this is what I have been thinking of without even including other players. My view was only on MM. Say it’s true we paid €90m fr him and he plays successfully for us for the next 10 years. That would be about €9m a year. That in my view would not be a bad business at all. Even if we were to sell him at his prime we are likely to recoup that what we’ve spend.
      I would say let’s accept the market for what it’s and be happy that the Manager got the player he wanted. Let’s support him as we are doing with the rest of the squad and hope he will deliver for us. I’m optimistic about this one.

  5. Are people forgetting how good Pepe was his 1st season? who was player of the match in the Cup Final? Pepe’s problem was he was suddenly in the fight of his life with a young Genius called SAKA and could not handle being benched.
    If we had known how good and how quick SAKA would be that good, we would not have signed Pepe. Emery wanted Zaha maybe he knew how good SAKA was to become?
    Mudryk must know he is “behind Gabbi11 and SAKA, he also has a fight on his hands. They are way ahead of him

    1. Mudryk and Martineli are options for Eddie and Jesus,
      With them, we can retain our high pressing, cover the midfield well and counter attacks will be a join to watch.

    2. He wasn’t good in his first season. There were little signs that there was a very good player in there but he never got going. Saka was playing great at left back / wing back and only moved to right wing in the first team later on – if Pepe was playing well, I think Saka could have settled into several other positions in the side.

    3. larry gold, I have not forgotten, as you cannot forget what does not happen. I never noticed him being much good at all. So I say you are wrong to back his ability.

      I saw very little ability to ever even seriously TRY to adapt to the physicality all Prem games demand. THAT is the reality!

  6. I forgot to mention that, if we ever sell Saka, ESR and Martinelli, y guess would be a round sum of £350,000,000 if Mudryk is costing a reported £80,000,000….. and Jesus?
    More than the reported £40,000,000 (say £60,000,000).
    Anyone disagree?

    1. “Ever” is a long time. At the moment Saka could leave on a free transfer in a year or so. Martinelli too (although he’s indicated that he wants to sign, he hasn’t).

      Your numbers are probably current values, especially if they were on long contracts when they’re sold – but some time in the future… who knows.

  7. The issues over Mudrk are really about how his transfer may affect his performance. The players who go for high fees have a long history of not playing well, it seems the expectation is often too much for them.

    The other issue is how it affects transfer funds re money left in the kitty, FSR regs – neither of which are known to us observers but if they were looking at Arsenal in the summer, spending all this now has to make things worse.

    So one way or another, that second question boils down to “Would we rather have Mudryk or 2-3 other good players?”.

  8. What a very SENSIBLE article with welcome perspective and an absence of personal bias by the writer.

    I have long disliked how so many fans , the unthinking ones, so blithely and lazily make false comparisons between so and so and such and such a player, based on spurious false comparisons; age, nationality, transfer fee, position on the pitch, etc. etc!

    To be frank, comparing any particular human with ANY other is a foolish quest, because all humans are a mass of myriad qualities for good though with faults, although only a tiny PERCENTAGE globally, are truly bad people.

    Some dull witted people compare, lets say, Africans with all other Africans or Jews with all other Jews. Or Brits with all other Brits. And so on and so stupidly!

    There are none so stupid as those without sufficient brain to fully understand that ALL humans are individuals, with unique gifts and faults pertaining only to them.

    TBH, I am very wary of comparison articles for the sensible reasons I outline here.

  9. I really like Mudryk but with figures being talked about now, someone like Victor Osimhen would have preferably been a beauty …..

    The amounts Arsenal are having to pay sound a little boring

  10. Ignoring the high fee…Could the board be thinking that bringing Mudryk in gives us more leverage in contract negotiations with the agents of Saka, Martinelli, and the rest of our attacking players? Remember Theo demanding an unjustified high salary, simply because he could as we had no cover and had become a selling club?

  11. The improvement in United’s game from the beginning of the season is remarkable. Their atttacks have been miles better than City’s! Amazing.

    1. They really have pacy wingers and players in Midfield like Erikson and Casemiro and Fernandez to pick their runs behind defence..
      Ten Hag’s tactics so far spot on…
      KDB has taken out of game by Fred’s man marking
      And because of that there is no service for front 3… especially for Haaland..
      KDB is really not able to get out of shadow of Fred

      1. I’m surprised how little bernardo is affecting games lately – he used to be extremely effective but now city look totally reliant on de bruyne to open teams up. When sides are able to limit de bruyne, City aren’t too scary.

  12. Ten Hag’s tactics so far spot on..
    KDB has been taken out of game by Fred’s man marking..
    He is not getting enough time on ball to pick front 3
    And because of that there is no service for front 3
    Especially Haaland..
    Hé is absolutely quite..

    1. Haalands wide open all the time, but Ten Haag and got his tactics spot on. City never pass from the back straight to the front man on the ground. Hes just waiting but the guys won’t play the simple pass.

    1. You can try man mark someone else the game but it really stuffs up the whole shape of the rest of the team. The second you lose your man then every single other player is out of position.

      High risk strategy.

    1. 1st goal should never have stood. Rashford ran directly for the ball which makes him active, he only pulled out last minute because of the call he got.

      Also Ederson came out because of Rashford going directly for the ball so he directly resulted in the keeper being out of position.

        1. Im not saying a defender would’ve gotten there before the cry baby but the kepper is 100% affected! Plus Rashfords change in direction directly towards the ball.

          Same old United and Refs

          1. The referees decision was “correct” and quite consistent with current interpretation of the rules.
            The questioning of the referee’s integrity is dishonourable. Even if the outcome of the match is not what Arsenal fans would have wanted some candour is expected.

            1. No, the referee was not consistent with the current rules.
              If a player, who is in an offside position, interferes with play, then it is offside.

              Once again we see how inept our referee’s are…. I wonder if the FA will charge both sets of players for surrounding the referee?

      1. Completely agree, also why does ex united player defend controversial decisions in united favour where as our ex players stand against our team if we benefit from any such decisions.

  13. UTD would be at 38 and City at 39, let that sink in. United play much better football than City as well. It is getting tight.

    1. How is that not an offside, Rashford almost shielded the ball running with it just not touching it. How is that not interference??? EPL is so rigged for united. In Arsene n ferggi time they handed games to united by giving them penalties n being biased against Arsenal. It looks like they want to kick start same again. EPL refeering is absolutely trash.

    1. @Stephanie
      Exactly. It’s all up to is now. MU pushed up to 3rd and NU are right behind them playing real good football. We new to keep our heads and do the business…COYG

  14. It was 1-1 draw and we could have extended lead on both. This is day light robbery. The EPL refs did this to us at old Trafford as well with Martinelli goal. Might as well just name united as official’s united.

  15. I won’t be surprised if they help united to win at Emirates as well by giving us a red and giving united penalties. Var is a joke in epl as usual. I can not still believe the extra time handed to us against Newcastle even though even a blind man see the amount of time Newcastle wasted. So we get apologies after ref blunders where as united get decisions.

  16. Now officially a three horse race title race (no disrespect to Newcastle) now have to beat Spurs tomorrow to extend the gap on Man City and keep Man Utd at arms length. The key to beating Man Utd next Sunday iwill be containing Rashford.

    1. I think we need to realise everytime this season united have beaten teams is on counter football. So we need to makesure we don’t over commit. Play like they do or dechamp type football let them have the ball they struggle with breaking teams down and hit them on counter. Arsenal, Liverpool and city did same mistake they all played very high up leaving space at back even when some of them had goal advantage. Score a goal then park the bus .

      1. United are getting the positional balance almost perfect. They press quite high up but at the same time their defence still sits relatively deep. Usually with a high press your defence is quite high up leaving space behind. How many times was their space for City to run into, almost never.

        1. There was no space for city to run into because they had most of the possession and united were defending with all behind the ball sort of scenario. It was attack versus defend. We have seen this season if you do same to united let them have the ball and sit back, they struggle to break teams. They are all about hitting back on breaks with pace upfront.

    2. Been saying all season, City have a massive weakness in defence, “they go to sleep” and the goalie has a mistake in him every game. They were sleepwalking at 0-1 game was done, then they went to sleep and even for the 2nd goal where was the defending. Utd looking very good, Rashford a major threat, but that’s not forget about Casemiro, he is the oil for the engine, stop him. But 1st we have a little game tomorrow

  17. Can we sign Mitoma that’s at Brighton, guy is brilliant! Running Liverpool ragged, would be a bargain.

  18. The Mudryk saga continues!! After looking like an almost done deal, lots of reports coming out that Chelsea trying to hijack the transfer, verbally agreeing to pay the €100M Shakhtar want.😒

  19. Brighton’s style of play is simply breathtaking!!! It’s so good it rivals ours. I hope we play so well against Spurs tomorrow the way Brighton just did to LiVARpool and take them to the cleaners to send a serious warning to rivals and United after their controversial win against City.

    We need to be brave to play under pressure to evade their pressing and be clinical like Brighton. There is no better time to play Man U and halt their resurgence to avenge the 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture and the Invincible loss.

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