After hearing Chelsea’s bid for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Mudryk, Arsenal turned it down, and Paul Merson feels they made the correct call. All of this moving around has been quite an ordeal.
Even before the conclusion of the summer transfer season, Arsenal had been trying to sign Mudryk. With Mudryk openly courting the Gunners in recent weeks, it seemed like Arsenal would sign their man.
Mikel Arteta and Edu were becoming more frustrated as Shakhtar refused to budge from their asking price for Mudryk. Last week, Arsenal seemed like they were going to win, but then Chelsea came out of nowhere and spent a ton of money to defeat them.
On Sunday, Chelsea paraded their new season at Stamford Bridge while presenting Mudryk, forcing Arsenal to look elsewhere. To strengthen their Premier League title hopes, Edu and Arteta hoped to sign another offensive player this month.
Mudryk and Joao Felix were two of the most often discussed names, although both players ultimately signed with Chelsea.
That’s not one but two significant setbacks for Arsenal, and now supporters are hoping Edu can replace Mudryk with another top-tier player. Although speculation may resume shortly, ex-Arsenal great Paul Merson thinks Arteta and co. made the correct choice.
Merson has informed Sky Sports that he expects Arsenal to sign Barcelona winger Raphinha, noting that the Catalan giants need to “fix their books.”
As Merson pointed out, Chelsea is likely paying Mudryk far more than Arsenal would have. The veteran midfielder believes that, by matching Chelsea’s offer, Arsenal would have unsettled their present players—not ideal in a Premier League title battle.
“They’ll have to regroup again. Surely they have another few players in the pipeline, surely they haven’t put all their eggs into one basket,” said Merson.
“I think they might go for Raphinha at Barcelona, they’ve got to settle their books. He [Mudryk] is probably getting more money at Chelsea. If Arsenal then go ‘wait a minute, we’ll give you those wages’, how do you think all the players will react? It’s a happy dressing room at the moment, and you give another player £200k or £300k, it gets around the dressing room, players start getting unsettled and you’re better not rocking the boat. These chances don’t come around too often and you’ve got to seize the moment. You don’t want to ruin it,” he added.