Mikel Arteta sends transfer message to Mykayhlo Mudryk with call for defiant act

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Mikel Arteta sends transfer message to Mykayhlo Mudryk with call for defiant act
Mikel Arteta sends transfer message to Mykayhlo Mudryk with call for defiant act

Mikel Arteta has put the ball back in Mykhaylo Mudryk's court as Arsenal continue to pursue the Shakhtar Donetsk winger.

The Gunners are admirers of the 22-year-old Ukrainian since the summer, and have stepped up their interest in the January transfer window. Arteta is desperate to bolster the Premier League leaders' attacking options.

The admiration is certainly not one-sided, with Mudryk flirting with Arsenal via social media on a number of occasions in recent weeks. The Shakhtar star has posted clips of himself watching the Gunners play, while also dubbing Arteta a 'top coach' during the recent 4-2 win away at Brighton. More recently, Mudryk has taken to 'liking' posts of mocked up images that show him locked in a prison cell being held captive by Shakhtar. Many of the posts liked by the winger are also accompanied with the hashtag 'FreeMudryk'.

But it's not just Arsenal pressing for his signature this month, with London rivals Chelsea making moves. The Blues have entered negotiations with Mudryk's agent and Shakhtar, as they look to take him to Stamford Bridge. They've also intimated that they're ready to spend more than the Gunners.

Asked about Arsenal's transfer situation - and notably their pursuit of Mudryk - on Saturday, Arteta made his stance crystal clear.

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The Spaniard was pressed for comment on any updates regarding potential incomings, to which he bluntly replied: "No updates."

But it was his follow-up comment that was more notable, with the Arsenal boss insisting: "At the end of the day, players decide where they want to play. If they want to play for our club, that is great.”

Mikel Arteta sends transfer message to Mykayhlo Mudryk with call for defiant actArsenal are keen on securing the signature of Mykhaylo Mudryk but won't overpay to get him (Getty Images)

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The remark certainly felt pointed at Mudryk, with the deal taking longer than the Gunners would like amid Shakhtar's insistence that their £88million asking price is met.

That's something Arsenal are unwilling to do at present; they have already seen one bid rejected, with the second also likely to be turned down after it fell more than £20million short of the price tag Shakhtar have set.

But with Chelsea willing to pay more, it seems as if Arteta is hoping that Mudryk will go into business for the Gunners - and insist that it is only Arsenal where he wants to go. Mirror Football understands he prefers to move to the Emirates.

The Gunners manager also discussed how trying to match the valuation of a player can often prove difficult.

“I don’t know. Obviously, valuation have to be made between the selling club and the buying club," Arteta explained. “It is difficult but as well, it shows a lot of clubs with a lot of financial power to spend big amounts and we have to compete with them.

"We have to be smart, we have to see for good opportunities as well."

Josh O'Brien

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