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In Focus: Mudryk's arrival can spark Chelsea's resurgence
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Mitchell Fretton
LiveScore

Mykhailo Mudryk's move to Chelsea has become the most-expensive signing of the January transfer window so far.

The Ukrainian winger, 22, was on course to join London rivals Arsenal from Shakhtar Donetsk before Stamford Bridge chiefs agreed an £89million deal.

Mudryk was unveiled to his new supporters during the Blues' 1-0 win over Crystal Palace and will be eager to make his mark in the Premier League.

Ahead of Saturday's clash at Liverpool, we turn the spotlight on Chelsea's new No15 and what he can bring to Graham Potter's side.

Quick on his feet

Two of Mudryk's most established attributes are his agility and quick feet — fashioned from dance classes as a child.

Capable of playing on either wing, the latest highly-rated talent to arrive in the English top flight has an eye for a stepover or two, but that is not his limit.

Making a name for himself in the Champions League this season, Mudryk scored three times and assisted twice on Europe's biggest stage, but also tallied seven goals in the top division in Ukraine.

All three of Mudryk's goals in Europe were of a special nature — utilising his pace and awareness to beat defenders and finish with sublime precision.

In fact, no player in this season’s Champions League has recorded a higher top speed than his 36.6km/h, which suggests that Chelsea have added a true speedster to their ranks.

Whether he can utilise that pace against Liverpool remains to be seen but the trickster will play with confidence and flair.

Mykhailo Mudryk was a star performer in the Champions League group stage
Mykhailo Mudryk was a star performer in the Champions League group stage

Fitting the system

Chelsea have gone big since Todd Boehly took over from Roman Abramovich, spending more than £400m on several recruits including Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella and Raheem Sterling.

He may be blighted by current suspensions and injuries but once all his forwards return from the sidelines, Potter will have a selection dilemma deciding who to pick in the final third.

With Kai Havertz seemingly his first-choice No9, the former Brighton boss can add Mudryk to an already impressive cast of attackers, featuring Sterling, Christian Pulisic, Joao Felix and Hakim Ziyech.

It is expected that the Ukraine star will slot straight in on either the left or right wing in a standard 4-3-3 formation.

Mudryk is right-footed and prefers to cut in from the left-hand side, so is likely to provide direct competition with Sterling, who is managing a hamstring issue.

Nothing is guaranteed, but fresh legs may help give Chelsea — the lowest-scoring team in the top half — some much-needed momentum.

Star of the future

Mykhailo Mudryk often likes to cut on to his right foot and shoot
Mykhailo Mudryk often likes to cut on to his right foot and shoot

Although he has been bought to make an instant impact for the West Londoners, Mudryk is in it for the long run with Chelsea having signed an eight-and-a-half-year deal.

If he were to see out his contract that expires in 2031, he will have just turned 30, giving him the opportunity to inspire the Blues to many trophies.

However, England's top flight can be ruthless and Mudryk will need to be cautious and patient when adapting to one of the most physical leagues in the world.

Nicolas Pepe arrived to the Premier League in 2019 with similar expectations and hype surrounding him — but after a few seasons of disappointment at Arsenal, was sent back to Ligue 1 on loan to try and reignite his career.

There is no doubt that Chelsea have gambled by paying such a huge fee for someone who only made 44 senior appearances for Shakhtar, but he could prove to be a risk worth taking in the long term.

His desire to move to England demonstrates his eagerness and passion for football and although he may have aspirations for the future, his first call of business is to help his side overturn the 10-point gap to fourth.

Ballon d'Or potential

Mykhailo Mudryk was unveiled to Chelsea fans on Sunday
Mykhailo Mudryk was unveiled to Chelsea fans on Sunday

Former Shakhtar boss Roberto De Zerbi was a key contributor to the accelerated development of Mudryk before he too joined the Premier League.

The Brighton manager claimed the flying forward can become the best in the world, saying: "I think he can win the Ballon d’Or in the future.

"Really. I know the value of Mudryk, he has the potential to win the Ballon d’Or."

Shakhtar's director of football Darijo Srna backed up De Zerbi's claim, adding: "Mudryk is a serious talent. After Kylian Mbappe and Vinicius Junior, he is the best player in Europe in his position."

To go as far as suggesting that a player is performing at a similar level to Mbappe could be considered far-fetched but Mudryk's displays have earned him the big-money move he dreamed of.

He will be looking to silence the Anfield crowd on Saturday and begin repaying his transfer fee in one of Europe's top leagues.

Tags

ChelseaPremier LeagueMykhaylo Mudryk
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