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.
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