Arsenal ‘wary’ of making Pepe mistake again in Mudryk race as they ‘step up pursuit’ of another forward

Date published: Friday 6th January 2023 2:20 - Joe Williams

Arsenal target Mykhailo Mudryk runs with the ball

Arsenal don’t want to repeat the same mistake they made with Nicolas Pepe during negotiations for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, according to reports.

The Gunners are currently top of the Premier League table after 17 matches with Mikel Arteta’s side opening up a five-point gap over defending champions Manchester City.

Arsenal may have gone into the January transfer market regardless of their position but being top of the league has seen the recruitment team make some early offers.

Their position in the league also gives Arsenal an extra tool to use when negotiating, with players knowing the Gunners are a good bet to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.

Mudryk has emerged as their top target with widespread reports claiming the Gunners have made two offers for the Ukraine international with both bids turned down by Shakhtar.

As reported elsewhere, the Daily Telegraph claims that Arsenal ‘will not be drawn into a bidding war’ for Mudryk in January and ‘will refuse to pay over the odds’ for the Ukrainian.

And the Gunners ‘are now stepping up their pursuit of Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix’ and Arsenal ‘are looking to add both him and Mudryk to Arteta’s attacking options for the second half of the season’.

The report adds that ‘the north London club remains confident that the 22-year-old wants to join them this month’ despite strong interest from fellow Premier League side Chelsea, who met Shakhtar representatives in London this week.

But the Chelsea owners are demanding ‘assurances that Mudryk is willing to join them instead of Arsenal before making any formal offers’ with the Blues hierarchy ‘hoping to avoid a repeat of the situation involving Raphinha in the summer’.

Arsenal are particularly ‘wary of over-spending’ on Mudryk after their disastrous purchase of Ivory Coast international Nicolas Pepe from Lille for £72m back in 2019 with the winger still contracted to the club but out on loan at Nice.

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson reckons Arsenal will get at least one new player over the line in the January window with a great “chance” of winning the Premier League.

“I think they’ll invest, I don’t know if it will be a striker – who doesn’t need a striker? We’re going from the top of the league down to the bottom of the league.

“Arsenal have got to [invest in a forward], it’s a free swing in my opinion. These chances do not come around all too often.

“We’ve been here before, you get here – I mean look at Chelsea: they can’t win the league, Liverpool can’t win the league, we’re only 16 games in, it goes that quickly. They’ve got to take this opportunity, it’s free money.

“Even if they don’t win it they’re going to get in the Champions League so they’re going to get their money back. For me, you’ve got to do it while you’re flying. There’s no good in doing it when the horse has bolted.”

READ MORE: Arsenal hopes crushed by latest Mudryk update and Aubameyang would rather be spat at


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