One of January’s most high-profile transfer sagas has come to an end with Chelsea signing Mykhaylo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk in a £100m deal.
The Ukrainian has penned an eight-and-a-half-contract at Stamford Bridge, even though he looked all-but certain to sign for Premier League rivals Arsenal early in the window.
Arsenal had identified Mudryk as their top January target early. In fact, they were already negotiating with Shakhtar Donestsk in December to try and get a deal over the line quickly.
It was a deal that clearly appealed to Mudryk too, so much so that he openly admitted that he would struggle to turn down Arsenal.
"Arsenal are a very good team," he explained. "A very good coach. I like the way they play. From my side, I can't say no."
It appears that he has said ‘no’ to Arsenal, although there is a lot more to it than that.
Why did Mykhaylo Mudryk choose Chelsea over Arsenal?
Ultimately, while Arsenal were able to agree terms with Mudryk early, they never actually reached an agreement with Shakhtar.
The Gunners were willing to pay a significant sum for Mudryk, but the structure of the deal was not to the Ukrainian club’s liking. They wanted more up-front and less achievement-based add-ons, while Arsenal wanted less up front and more add-ons.
Arsenal were sticking to their guns in terms of their transfer policy, which is a lot stricter than that of Chelsea’s right now. It’s commendable, but it also opened the door for their London rivals to step in.
Chelsea quickly agreed to Shakhtar’s terms of more guaranteed money, and offered Mudryk significantly more in wages too. Some reports claimed Arsenal would not go above £50,000 per week for Mudryk, while Chelsea offered him more than £100,000. When you add that to the eight-and-a-half year contract on offer at Stamford Bridge, it was a tough package to compete with.
That left Arsenal with the decision of breaking their current transfer policy and wage structure for Mudryk, or back away from the deal on the grounds that the figures did not work for them. The chose the latter, leaving the path clear for Chelsea to get their man.