Prem clubs on alert as Shakhtar star becomes free agent

Matt Stead

Bernard has confirmed that he will be leaving Shakhtar Donetsk when his contract expires at the end of the month.

The 25-year-old Brazilian moved to Ukraine in 2013 and has spent five successful seasons at the club, winning nine trophies with them during that time.

Bernard has often been linked with a move to a more competitive league, and confirmed in March that he wanted to “play for a bigger club”.

Premier League clubs have taken an interest in Bernard before, from Arsenal to Liverpool and Newcastle.

The winger scored ten goals in all competitions last season as Shakhtar won the Ukrainian domestic treble and reached the last-16 of the Champions League. One of those goals came in the 2-1 group stage win against Manchester City.

He fondly recalled that game in an interview with Shakhtar’s website.

“I remember lots of wonderful instances, and all our titles are very important,” he said. “I’m happy to have been involved in Shakhtar’s victories.

“Each match and every triumph have a special flavour, but I remember particularly well our meeting with Manchester City in the previous Champions League campaign: in order to reach the knockout stages, we had to beat the strongest team in England, and we did it. The outstanding game and strong emotional experience!”

He added: “I want to thank the players, the management, the coaching staff, the Shakhtar employees for the five years we spent together.

“No matter how far I am, I will always be rooting for the team, to rejoice at their victories and achievements.

“Many thanks to the fans for their support, respect and friendship. I want to give everyone a hug.”