Transfer Talk: Why Liverpool and Arsenal want Ukraine star Mudryk
For the second time in two weeks, Mykhaylo Mudryk will be looking to make his mark on a Scottish side.
After scoring in Shakhtar Donetsk’s 1-1 draw with Celtic last Wednesday, the 21-year-old will line up for Ukraine against Scotland tonight.
The lightning quick Mudryk is establishing himself as one of the hottest prospects in European football — but who is the winger and what does the future hold?
Rise to the top
Born in Krasnohrad, Mudryk spent time in the Metalist Kharkiv and Dnipro academies before switching to Shakhtar.
He spent time on loan at Arsenal Kyiv and Desna Chernihiv before breaking into the first team at his parent club in the past 12 months.
Mudryk scored twice and set up nine goals in 19 appearances in all competitions last term before the season was curtailed by Russia’s invasion of his homeland.
Catching the eye
Mudryk's prodigious talent has made Premier League clubs sit up and take notice.
Brentford were keen way back in January, Everton had a £26million bid rejected in August and Arsenal were also heavily linked with the winger.
But Shakhtar think so highly of Mudryk that any deal will not come cheap — especially given his displays in the Champions League this term.
Shakhtar's director of football Darijo Srna said: "Mudryk is a serious talent.
"After Kylian Mbappe and Vinicius Junior, he's the best player in Europe in his position.
"If someone wants to buy Mudryk they must spend a lot, a lot, a lot of money and respect our club and our president."
Performing on the biggest stage
In two Champions League games this term, Mudryk has scored two goals and set up two more.
In the 4-1 win over RB Leipzig, he teed up Marian Shved to put Shakhtar 2-1 up before his cross put it on a plate for Lassina Traore for the fourth.
In between those two assists, he showed plenty of composure to smash a left-footed effort into the bottom corner when played through one-on-one.
And against Celtic, his blistering pace saw him run clear of the Bhoys defence and rifle an effort into the roof of the net to earn them a draw.
Those performances put him in lofty company after two games of this year’s competition.
Only Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski have scored more goals, while Joao Cancelo is the one player with more assists.
His goals have come from just two shots, showing his clinical nature, and he has also attempted seven take-ons, completing four of them.
Mudryk has managed all of this in a side unfancied in the Champions League, who now sit behind only defending champions Real Madrid in Group F.
Eyes on the Premier League
The Premier League is the dream destination for many players and Mudryk is no different.
Though a move to Arsenal never materialised in August and Everton were short of his valuation, it is clear the youngster would be interested.
"I think every guy dreams about the Premier League," he said two weeks ago.
"Yes yes, it’s hard to say but Arsenal is a very good team. Very good coach, I like the way they play.
"From my side I can’t say no. But a transfer is not only my decision and my word."
Where is best?
Given Liverpool are now said to be one of the clubs interested, alongside Bayer Leverkusen and Sevilla, it is not an easy decision for Mudryk.
The Reds have been one of Europe’s dominant forces over recent seasons but have a plethora of attacking talent, including January recruit and fellow winger Luis Diaz.
That is why if he is to move to England, Arsenal look a smart bet for the Ukrainian.
They are short of quality wide options after sending Nicolas Pepe on loan to Nice and could do with support for Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Co.
The presence of national team-mate Oleksandr Zinchenko should only strengthen the Gunners' position.
Mikel Arteta’s revolution is gathering pace at the Emirates, luckily Mudryk has already shown he can keep up.