Gabriel Martinelli prevented Mykhailo Mudryk from joining Arsenal

After months of teasing Arsenal, Mykhailo Mudryk has signed for a Premier League team, but not Arsenal. Chelsea hijacked his transfer in the week, and he will play for them instead. Both clubs interested in signing Mudryk in January were unlikely to meet Shakhtar’s €100million (£88million) price.

Gabriel Martinelli prevented Mykhailo Mudryk from joining Arsenal

After co-owner Behdad Eghbali and director of global talent and transfers Paul Winstanley arrived at Shakhtar’s training camp in Antalya, Turkey, on Saturday to finalize the transfer, Chelsea offered a £62million fee with £26million in add-ons. After agreeing on personal terms and passing a physical over the weekend, Chelsea unveiled Mudryk to fans at halftime of Sunday’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace.

In an interview with The Athletic, Shakhtar Donetsk chief executive Sergei Palkin explained why Mudryk chose Chelsea over Arsenal. The Blues offered better add-ons. Palkin liked the west London reconstruction, especially since both clubs offered the same prices. Shakhtar’s decision to accept Chelsea’s offer made sense, but why did Mudryk, anxious to join the Gunners, suddenly alter his mind? The Athletic’s behind-the-scenes look at his deal may explain why the Ukrainian winger picked west over north London.

In discussion with Eghbali and Winstanley, they emphasised that Gabriel Martinelli would compete for playing time if he joined Arsenal instead of Chelsea. Although Eghbali and Winstanley are right, he may regret moving to Chelsea for consistent minutes. Graham Potter has few attacking alternatives, with Armando Borja, Raheem Sterling, and Christian Pulisic sidelined. Given Joao Felix’s ban, Mudryk will be ahead of four players. Felix will return in mid-February, and the injured trio will recuperate.

Chelsea also signed RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku for a pre-contract transfer in the summer. If Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe had joined the Gunners, Mudryk would have lost playing time to Martinelli’s progress and form. Mikel Arteta’s long-term chances of consistent minutes are better. It’s unknown if that comment from two of Chelsea’s important board members influenced Mudryk’s decision. Still, it’s a compelling case, especially since he might make his debut against Liverpool on Saturday.

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