Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Newcastle United are reportedly interested in Mykhaylo Mudryk, one of the hottest properties in Europe right now. The mercurial talent has been dubbed the ‘Ukrainian Neymar’ and according to reliable sources such as the highly regarded Fabrizio Romano- is available at a relatively decent price for a player so highly regarded. The 21-year-old Krasnohrad native has over four years left on his contract and therefore his current club Shakhtar Donetsk will not be pushed into selling their prized asset for anything less than the fee they demand. Sources say that this fee is just under £50 million- a price NUFC should perhaps be prepared to fork out for one of the brightest young attacking talents in Europe.
But why Mudryk?
One of the foremost positions the Toon tried to strengthen in the summer was that of a winger/wide forward player. Moussa Diaby of Bayer Leverkusen was the name on the lips of many for most of the summer, with his goal scoring and assist numbers outstanding last season. With Newcastle looking to progress to the next step, buying players of better quality is now becoming the norm. The days of being constantly linked to Hamzat Chowdury and haggling for desperate loan deals seem to be over. Trippier was the flagship signing who changed the status quo. Every player we have signed since January has improved the team with big money being spent on the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Alexsander Isak. We now seem to be looking up in the transfer market as opposed to around us or below. Mudryk represents such a step forward, with an opportunity to throw our weight around a bit- Romano suggests that up to 15 clubs are showing a serious interest in the player. It is widely reported that the Toon are having a good look at him, and with us needing a winger of serious pedigree and potential, he seems to fit the bill perfectly.
Quick, dynamic, confident, skilful and direct. All qualities that you could attribute to our current number 10, the maverick that is Alan Saint-Maximin. It is clear that if we are going to progress up the table and eventually towards the European places that we need another winger of similar calibre on the other side of our centre forward. Mudryk is predominantly left footed and plays on the left for Shakhtar, which could possibly see ASM moved to the right wing. Although our number 10 flourishes on the left, we have seen glimpses of brilliance on the right flank, his assist for Wilson against Burnley a few seasons ago springing to mind. Having those two in the same shirt would be an exciting prospect for the Toon army- and a terrifying one for our opponents. Mudryk looks like he has the pace, athleticism, and confidence in his own ability to succeed in the premier league. His man of the match performance against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu last season thrust him into the spotlight, with the Madridistas themselves applauding the young Ukrainian. This season he has further flourished in Europe, with an assured finish against Celtic added to another lovely goal and two assists in the 4-1 away win against R.B Leipzig. He is a player gifted with incredible pace, ball control and a relaxed confidence that presents an appealing playing style on the eye. Widely recognised as a player of outstanding potential, with Brentford and Everton already failing to sign the player during the summer. As things stand, teams such as AC Milan, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Arsenal are among the clubs that keep popping up linked to the talented 22-year-old. NUFC have the financial muscle if not the European pedigree to compete for his signature, with the £50 million being achievable nowadays.
Our back up options to ASM display that we sorely need to strengthen. Miguel Almiron had a stellar pre-season and has carried on good form into this season, yet at times disrupts our flow and does not play his best attacking football on the wing, despite his best efforts. Ryan Fraser was a complete disappointment under the manager that signed him but showed vast improvement under Eddie Howe last season and impressed all with his work ethic and running work. Jacob Murphy is a favourite of mine, he’s a non-Geordie fan like me. On his day he’s a premier league player, perfectly capable and always willing to do the hard work; however not possessing the killer instinct required at the top level. We are left then with three hard working industrious wingers, all willing to leave it all out on the pitch, to truck the hard yards and put a shift in. Players of whom you cannot question the attitude, honest pros. However, none of them have the quality to take us to that next level. Much like the well-loved Matt Ritchie, they are characters and players needed in the squad, but as we prowl up the table, should be replaced by better quality in the starting XI.
Now that we have established that we need Mudryk; what are the stumbling blocks?
Firstly, the pedigree of the buying club. With Mykhaylo shining in the worlds premier club competition, it will be difficult to lure him away from the Champions league, and indeed the Europa league. This is where the aforementioned clubs have the advantage over us. We can compete in terms of wages and a transfer fee, but in the realms of Europe and league position, cannot yet trade fair blows.
Interestingly, one of the surprise packages of the premier league this season has been Brighton and Hove Albion. Although it is fair to say the seagulls don’t have form in terms of big signings, their record being Enock Mwepu from R.B Leipzig for £20.7 million last summer. Their new manager, however, is Roberto De Zerbi who has taken over in Brighton from Shakhtar in the last fortnight. He was the manager of Mudryk for the last season, overseeing his progress into the first team and only has glowing things to say about his former protégé. He was quoted as saying “If I don’t bring him to a high level, I will consider it a personal defeat” when the young man was making his way out of the academy. It is fair to say that prediction has come true- and he may be keen to bring the Ukrainian back under his management at Brighton- however Albion’s lack of financial clout and inevitable retreat from the top four will surely put that idea out to pasture.
We may be forced to move sooner rather than later if we want to secure this signing, with more prestigious clubs sniffing around. And as previously stated, Donetsk will have no shortage of suitors, and with over four years left on his contract are definitely in no rush to cash in on their prized asset. It remains to be seen what our January budget is; these factors might push us into a bid in the New year as opposed to the summer. It will be interesting to see which number the calculator produces as available funds and what we do with the number- with Eddie’s interest remaining in the talented Leicester playmaker James Maddison.
So, what can we offer Mykhaylo Mudryk? Despite only one win this season, we are a club on the rise. A bold manager with progressive ideas, a fabulous fanbase (take a bow, readers) some quality personnel in place throughout the club and let’s be honest, the pockets for the long game. Much like our new Swedish striker, Mudryk will have the opportunity to grow and improve with the club organically, under the eyes of a patient regime and a nourishing manager.
Despite only winning once so far this term, we are a club going places, a forgotten motor roused from the garage, starting to make its way through the gears on an open road. The question is- does Mudryk want to come along for the ride?