Soccer

Arsenal told that Eddie Nketiah has saved Gunners £60m in Mudryk race

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Arsenal have been told that they may have a spare £60million available in January, which could be used to bolster their financial package and beat Chelsea to the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. The two London clubs are set to go head-to-head to sign the 22-year-old winger, as the Ukrainian club have publicly asked for a fee that could reach £100m.

The Gunners have been short in forward areas, which has been highlighted by the injury suffered by Gabriel Jesus at the World Cup. The Brazilian had started every Premier League game before travelling to Qatar with his country, but could be facing several further weeks on the sideline.

There had been rumours that Arsenal were considering buying another striker when the January window opens to cover in Jesus’ absence, as the likes of Joao Felix and Dusan Vlahovic were linked with moves to the Emirates.

The young Portuguese star has been made available by Atletico Madrid this month on a loan deal, while the Serbian striker could leave Juventus just a year after joining the Serie A giants for £64m, though they would likely attempt to retain a similar fee of around £60m.

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However, Eddie Nketiah has instead deputised for Jesus capably and scored in both of Arsenal’s first two games back from the World Cup break. Gunners icon Martin Keown has claimed that the 23-year-old is saving his club “a bit of money” which could be reinvested this month. “I think Nketiah coming in, he is saving Arsenal a bit of money up there – saving Arsenal having to sign a striker. He is working tirelessly,” Keown told talkSPORT via HITC.

Arsenal could directly use the money budgeted for a striker on Mudryk, in attempts to stop Chelsea from hijacking the move. Shakhtar chief Darijo Srna was in attendance at Stamford Bridge to watch the Blues lose 1-0 to Manchester City on Thursday, where both Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic limped off in the first half.

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Arsenal are reportedly headstrong in their belief that they will not overpay for Mudryk, as Shakhtar have earmarked fees taking Jack Grealish and Antony to Manchester City and Manchester United as the benchmark, due to the Gunners not wishing to repeat their failed club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe for £72m in 2019.

Though without spending extra on a striker this month, as perhaps was the initial plan following Jesus’ injury, more funds are available to spend on Mudryk.

Arsenal have had two bids of £63m and £53m knocked back, though Nketiah’s emergence may mean that focus can be centred around Mudryk and a potentially improved third bid that could persuade Shakhtar to sell their star man.

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