How Arsenal reacted to Chelsea hijacking Mykhailo Mudryk transfer with £97m bid

Arsenal have been left ‘aggravated’ after Chelsea hijacked their deal for Mykhailo Mudryk with an eye-watering £97m offer to Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners made Mudryk their top target in January and thought they were on the verge of agreeing an £80m deal for the Ukraine international.

Talks had progressed to such an extent that Arsenal were confident Mudryk would complete his move to the Emirates Stadium in time for next weekend’s Premier League clash against Manchester United.

Arsenal also expected to strike a deal as the 22-year-old has repeatedly hinted he wanted to play for the club, streaming their games this season and even calling Mikel Arteta a ‘top coach’.

But Arsenal will now need to re-think their transfer plans after Chelsea swooped in and agreed a stunning deal to sign Mudryk from Shakhtar.

Chelsea confirmed on Saturday evening that they were ‘close’ to completing a transfer worth an initial £62m, with the add-ons totalling £35m.

A Chelsea delegation travelled to Poland earlier in the day to sit down with Shakhtar, who have also confirmed a deal is close.

While Arsenal did not meet Shakhtar’s asking price and were unwilling to get into a bidding war with Chelsea, they are ‘aggravated’ by their London rivals.

The feeling is shared by a number of Premier League clubs, according to The Independent, who believe Chelsea’s new owners are ‘getting involved in everything’.

Chelsea owner Todd Boehly spent more than £250m on new signings last summer and has been busy bolstering Graham Potter’s squad this month.

The Blues have even been accused of ‘bullying’ Arsenal in their pursuit of Mudryk by former Premier League star Gabby Agbonlahor.

‘With this transfer, Chelsea have bullied Arsenal, they have financially bullied them,’ the former Aston Villa captain told talkSPORT.

‘They went over and spoke to his agent and probably told him, “We’ll give you [the agent] more, we’ll give the player more in wages and we’ll give the club more money up front”.

‘Arsenal were maybe going to give him £100,000 or £150,000-a-week, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Chelsea offered him £250,000 or £300,000-a-week!

‘Chelsea can just turn up with an open wallet and say, “What do you want?” I think it’s a good signing, but it’s going to hurt Arsenal and it’s going to hurt Arsenal fans.’

Mudryk has scored seven goals and made seven assists in 12 league appearances for Shakhtar this season, and has scored three Champions League goals.

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