Did Arsenal really go for Mudryk or was it all a clever trap for Chelsea?



How Chelsea got Mudryk wrong

By Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal plot surprise move for 26-year-old Premier League striker    That piece in Hard Tackle leans on a story from Football Insider which quoted unnamed “sources,” as the origin of the story that Arsenal want to buy Dominic Calvert-Lewin.  It is one of hundreds of such stories, and for each one we are left not really knowing if it was made up, or if it is a serious possibility.  It looks dubious to me, but then, what do I know?

But thinking of this led me back to the last big transfer rumour of January that the whole of the football journalism world went crazy over: the certainty that Arsenal were going to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk.  Indeed with a week still to go in the January transfer window we had noted 53 separate reports in the media saying that Arsenal were indeed buying the player.

And yet they didn’t.

Most sites then left the subject alone, although a few did ponder why Mykhaylo Mudryk did not go to Arsenal.   Were the club too slow?  Was Arsenal too measly in its offer of payments?   Did Mudryk think Arsenal had no chance of success this season, and so decided on Chelsea as a better option? (That last point seems unlikely given that in mid-January Arsenal were eight points ahead of Manchester City with the same number of games played and a whopping 19 points ahead of Chelsea who had played one more game than Arsenal).

Or had all those websites and newspapers been led up the garden path by a clever piece of Arsenal misdirection?  Which is to say, Arsenal were perfectly clear on who they wanted to sign in January (Jorginho from Chelsea, and Leandro Trossard from Brighton) and wanted to keep those matters private and indeed secret, and so deliberately misled an eternally very gullible media into distracting Chelsea as the Jorginho move went through?

Or perhaps even worse, was the whole thing a newspaper hoax in which one journalist made up the story, slipped it to some contacts, and simply let it run?  When we regularly reported on transfer rumours that is how it always seemed to us.

But back to Mudruk.  Since his signing he has played in four Premier League games for Chelsea.  So maybe he is “one for the future” – although given that he cost €100 million according to some reports that seems a bit over the top.

And not all the media has been happy about him.   Football 365 ran the headline “Hasn’t got a clue” and that was one of the kinder reports.  The Sun gave him five out of ten for his last match.

So what happened?   Was it really that Arsenal wanted the player but Chelsea outbid them with neither club being aware that Mudruk simply wasn’t that good?  Or were Arsenal after Leandro Trossard all the time – and got a friendly journalist to run the Mudryk rumours, which the club did nothing to deny, while Arsenal got on with the real transfers.  

And here’s another thing… how come Chelsea would spend so much money on a player who at least at the moment, actually isn’t very good.  Or at least not good enough to play in every match.  Indeed not good enough to save the manager’s job.  Did Chelsea’ recruitment staff think, “if Arsenal want him he must be good” were suckered into the deal?

So here’s a point: imagine that Arsenal really had wanted to buy Mudryk, and had in fact got him for the 100 million.  That would mean Arsenal would not have got Trossard for £21m on 20 January this  year.  He has since played eight times for the first team.

Mudryk has started four games and been a sub in three but not scored a goal.  Their last game – and one in which he played – was a 0-2 home defeat to Aston Villa.

So we have a choice of what we believe.   Either Arsenal really wanted him, believing him to be worth all the money, but were outbid by Chelsea, and in the end settled on Trossard as second best, or Arsenal didn’t want him at all and journalists (with or without a nod from Arsenal) made up the story about Mudryk to Arsenal, and Chelsea bought into it.

Of course we won’t know for sure, but if Arsenal seriously were in for Mudryk, that would have been the first major mistake of Arteta’s career – and the fact that he hasn’t really made any blunders like that, makes me think Arsenal were never interested, but were happy to see a cover for the real story – the transfer of Trossard.

So, Chelsea with Mudryk and Arsenal with Trossard.  How have they done?

Pos Club  P W D L F A GD Pts
10 8 1 1 25 10 15 25
10 3 4 3 8 9 -1 13


However it happened, Arsenal paid a lot, lot less, and got a lot, lot more.  which is rather clever.

27 Replies to “Did Arsenal really go for Mudryk or was it all a clever trap for Chelsea?”

  1. I must say I’m very happy with the way Leandro has settled in at The Arsenal. I couldn’t have hoped for a better start of his Arsenal career.
    And here is something rather funny.
    In the period between 2014 – 2017 we had a TV serie in Flanders called “Spitsbroers”. If you translate it in English it would be “Striker brothers”. It was a story about two young and upcoming players from RC Genk (Trossards team in Belgium). The lost out on the title because of injuries but then one of the brothers was bought by Arsenal. But in the series he failed at Arsenal because some young and unknown talent (Martinelli?) outplayed and outperformed him on the field by scoring lots of goals. And the player (Moerman was his name) lost it a bit and was haunted by some bad things from the past.
    When Trossard was mentioned leaving Belgium and was transferred to BHA there also was a rumour that Arsenal was having a close eye on him at the time. In Flanders we then at the time had a bit of a Moerman moment and didn’t think it was a good idea from Arsenal. But as things stand Trossard has proven to be a great addition to the squad and has filled in perfectly. So the series on TV was fiction after all. But then again… a young Brazilian making the headlines…. not completely fiction….

  2. As fun of a read as this was, I must say that it’s all that it was – a fun read. I’m fairly certain that the interest in Mudryk was very real – but I strongly suspect that once Chelsea started sniffing around and the price started increasing, our interest in being milked for more cash began decreasing and the decision was made to string Chelsea along and get them bidding against themselves, while we looked at alternatives (much as was done to us with Pepe – and I’m glad we learned from it).

    If he ever figures out the mental part of the game, Mudryk will be a very good player – but I’m not sure that he’ll manage it at Chelsea with the weight of those expectations. Even if he does, Trossard was still the right buy for us given our needs at this time.

  3. Well, now we can read on the deadwood ‘so-called newspages’ that Arsenal are prepared to swap cash Zinchenko and Tierney for hernandes from AC Milan.

    I mean…yeah….replacing a vital cogpiece, as well as the second player on the left side…by an unknown to Arsenal…such a crap.

  4. As much as I take all the transfer rumours with a pinch of salt I do believe we were in for Mudryk. The thing is we have a budget. Chelsea do not. Both them factors effectively mean that the moment Chelsea, or any club without a budget for that matter, enter the fray, we have no chance of landing our target.

    I do believe we were close to securing his signature. I believe he wanted to come to Arsenal. The problem was his club were playing hardball as to how much they wanted for him. Chelsea were prepared to meat their valuation. We wasn’t.

    I don’t think Mudryk had any say in his destination. I still believe, although it is merely speculation on my part, that his preferred destination was Arsenal.

    As to whether we have ‘dodged a bullet’, only time will tell? Similarly, would this of been Arteta’s/Edu’s first real error in the transfer market? Again, only time will tell.

    Regarding both of those possibilities, personally I prefer to reserve judgement on him. After all he has joined a very dysfunctional team under a manager that seemed incapable of utilizing the enormous resources at his disposal. In and out of the team. A complete lack of a coherent strategy. Playing alongside players that seemed to lack any confidence at all. Who knows how he would have performed in a properly functioning Chelsea team, or indeed Arsenal team?

    Maybe, once a new manager is installed at Stamford Bridge the real Mudryk will emerge? Maybe we have already seen the real Mudryk and he’s not that great? As I said, only time will tell.

    As for Trossard. Well, given how astute Edu and Arteta have be in the transfer market I have every faith in the fact that he was a clear and worthy plan B. The fact he has worked out so well, so quickly, has I believe even shocked them. But that’s what can happen when you fit the perfect cog into an already well oiled, perfectly functioning machine.

    But, of course it could all of been an audacious plan, involving duplicity and mis direction? Who knows. Personally I just think it was a masterstroke having Trossard as a plan B.

  5. We don’t know how Mudryk would have evolved under the guidance of Arteta…. but for 100M one can expect a bit of a finished product….

  6. It was also interesting that some Arsenal players followed Mudryk’s including Zinchenko’s wife, instagram account. in the recent Ukraine match. Zinchenko mentioned along the lines of he made his mind up to go to Chelsea so have to put up with it.

  7. Chris

    If you want to see a ‘Deadwood’ Journalist in full head up arse, hasn’t got a f***ing clue mode, just read the following from supposed Arsenal fan and assistant Editor of the Daily Mirror, Darren Lewis. Over the last 10 years he hasn’t stopped banging on about the ‘genius’ that is Daniel Levy. His fawning knows no bounds, as you will see from these few examples:

    “Why even Arsenal fans must be wishing they had Daniel Levy at their club after this transfer window. Our man in Madrid Darren Lewis reckons the Tottenham chairman has played a blinder this summer”

    That was from Darren Lewis in September 2013.

    “The Mirror sports writer believes the now-traditional mockery of the Tottenham chairman’s approach ignores just what a stellar acquisition he has managed to land his club. Yes, he may be a pantomime transfer villain but you have to give Daniel Levy credit. The Spurs chairman has left the club in terrific shape ahead of their first Champions League campaign under Mauricio Pochettino.”

    That was from Darren Lewis in September 2016.

    “Tottenham Hotspur’s season looked to be on track for a nightmare campaign, but chairman Levy has worked his magic to get Spurs off to a promising start and keep hold of star striker Harry Kane”

    That was from Darren Lewis in August 2021.

    This is what Darren Lewis said about Arsenal back in 2013:

    “Arsenal fans won’t admit it but even they must secretly wish they had a custodian with his (Daniel Levy) ruthless streak and his skill at protecting the interests of his club. Even they must secretly wish they had someone at the Emirates to impress upon Arsene Wenger that, with the game having changed during his time at the club, you really do get what you pay for.”

    Since those insightful words of wisdom back in September 2013 this is how the two clubs have faired:


    13/14: 4th FA CUP
    14/15: 3rd FA CUP Community shield
    15/16: 2nd Community shield
    16/17: 5th FA CUP
    17/18: 6th Community shield
    18/19: 5th
    19/20: 8th FA CUP
    20/21: 8th Community shield
    21/21: 5th

    So that’s 4 FA CUPS and 4 Community shields, you know, just for a bit of fun.


    13/14: 6th
    14/15: 5th
    15/16: 3rd
    16/17: 2nd
    17/18: 3rd
    18/19: 4th
    19/20: 6th
    20/21: 7th
    21/22: 4th

    Now the first thing you may notice is that the trophy column for Spurs is, well, a bit spartan. But still over the 9 years they did manage the 4th is not a trophy position 5 times, which is 2 more than we managed, so credit where credit is due. Even then their average finish over the 9 years has been 4.4 where as ours has been 5.1. About half a place, and we’ve been rubbish by all accounts, whilst Spurs have been exceling!!

    But you do have to wonder what it was about Levy that Mr Lewis found so bedazzling? After all this is what he had to say just recently:

    Journalist Darren Lewis of The Daily Mirror, writing on social media, claims Kane will ‘try again’ to leave Spurs this year amid what can only be described as a real mess.

    “Conte is challenging Spurs to be better – as Redknapp, Pochettino & Mourinho did before they went. He’s reached the conclusion Carrick, Berbatov, Modric & Bale etc did before they left. Kane too – he tried to go two years ago. He’ll try again this summer.”

    So what conclusion is that Lewis is drawing? According to Lewis, Levy has been doing a fine job since as far back as 2013. Back then apparently Arsenal could of learned a thing or two from Levy’s ‘Genius’ dealings in the transfer market, as well as making us fans as jealous as hell!

    But now apparently Lewis suggests that managers and players alike from as far back as 2008 have been leaving in droves on the basis the club is simply incapable of ‘challenging’!!

    So either Levy is a ‘genius’ or he’s not. What is it I wonder?

    Depends what way the wind blows I suppose, aye Mr Lewis?

    You do have to wonder how on earth he keeps his job. Assistant Editor no less. I know if I was that crap at mine I’d of been out long ago.

    A prime example of a Deadwood journalist if ever I saw one Chris.

  8. @Nitram,

    yeah….deadwood scribler or deadwood PR loudspeaker enthralled by the ‘genius’ of Mr Levy.

    Now about Mudryk…I don’t believe anyone held a gun to his head for a 9 year contract…so…he’s rich, has got a safe job and is out of the war zone. So I don’t see any need to feel sorry for him.

    And Kane, if I do remember right, he signed a new contract…his choice…his bank account.

    Fact is, as far as know, the owners of Arsenal don’t come calling and tell Mr Arteta : we’ve just signed Gareth Bale, make sure he plays… there is a structure, responsibilities, competent people. And an Academy. Have you read about (or seen) many young Spurs players succeeding ?

    And I mean, hiring a sports director or whatever his title was who was entangled in a scandal and on the way to be potentially banned…. I don’t think I can call this ‘sound business acumen’ and absolutely not ‘genius’. To me, Levy. Boehly, same matrix.

    As I’ve posted before, the Spurs backoffice is an abyssmal pit of incompetence.

  9. @Nitram,

    And just to put things into perspective… it ain’t like SpUrs are the worst managed team in the world…far from it. Just look at PSG.

    – More the 600 millions in losses,
    – average monthly player salary above 1 million euros (250k a week as average salary…)
    – just lost this week-end to Lyon and are not sure to clinch the Ligue 1 trophy
    – no relevant success in the CL since…ever….except being the receiving team of a few remontadas.

    And Chelsea are kind of starting to head the same way. Money, too much of it, is no guarantee for success.

    Which brings me to the team I kind of like in the PL (I love Arsenal…not the same thing) : Brighton. What they are succeeding at is quite a feat.

    And by the way, the Toffees are playing better then Spurs after 30 minutes. let’s hope they win it.

  10. Yep, actually not a bad game. Dyche has done with Everton what he does. Made them hard working and hard to play against. Quality lacking hence the inconsistency.

    I’m predicting a 1-1 draw.

    My issue with Spurs is not really Spurs, or Levy, it’s the fawning media.

    That Lewis has endlessly sung the praises of Levy whilst endlessly criticising Arsenal and their custodians, yet we are by far the better run club, and the more successful.

    I have said a few times, that given their nett spend, which is relatively low, at least in PL terms, they have done well. Top 4 finishes. PL R/U CL R/U. But we have done better. Spurs just cannot win anything, and that is a massive flaw in the character of the club. Even when we are not doing so well we still win things.

    Yet the media endlessly deride us, and praise Spurs.

    Yes they are taking a bit of stick at the moment but if they put 3 wins in a row together they will be the mighty Spurs again. If we have 3 defeats we’ll be calamity gunners again.

    As I say, it’s not really Spurs or their fans that get my goat, rather the fawning media.

  11. Kane Kicks 2 people pulls the guys shirt then dives like a big girl. What a cheat.

    Commentators wont have any of it.

    “Okay he went down theatrically but that’s okay” That’s what he said.

    As I say, media just love Spurs.

  12. That was just embarrasing by Kane.

    He was swinging his arms just like the Everton player and was hit lightly on his face.

  13. GoingGoingGooner


    But it’s the way the commentators just wont say a word against him that makes me sick.

    Anyway, all’s well that ends well. Spurs just show again why ‘Spursy’ has ended up in the dictionary.

    Spurs are the gift that just keeps on giving.

  14. Well,

    say what you want, it must be the DNA of the club or the air in that part of town.
    Spurs are thugs and cheats, whichever manager they have.
    What kane did, from behind on a player he pushed on the ground is just mean and cowardly.
    And Moura did was just so dangerous.

    Anyway, there was some justice, Iwobi should get some congrats from Arsenal and except for our game against them, I am going to be a fan of Brighton until the end of the season.

  15. If we win our next two games we can celebrate St Totteringhams Day because Spurs will be unable to catch us even if they win their all their remaining games.
    I have a bottle of bubbly all ready to go.

  16. This season, Ben White has scored 2 more goals in the PL than Richarlison.

    Darren Lewis is of the opinion that Potter should have been sacked. He talks about Potter’s poor form. Nothing to do with the players then. He describes Potter as a rookie, when Potter has a history of success at his previous teams. The only rookies I can see are Boehly/Eghballi who appear to have no previous experience running a football club.

    Lewis appears to be a “reactionary journalist”, only able to see events in a short-term context, missing the bigger picture entirely. Read some of his other articles, and you’ll quickly see a pattern emerge wherein he is unable to “join dots”, much less identify cause and effect. Piers Morgan’s spiritual heir.

  17. To be truthful , I never ever heard of Mudryk , and still don’t know which club he came from ! When all this was going on , I was thinking of smoke being blown up someone’s arse .
    When Chelsea bought him , my Chelski loving son , was gloating . Well we now know how that went down ! I think that even he did not know of said player till all the fuss was made . The lesser said about their last two managers and that alleged prolific striker they bought from Barca , the better .

    That he may have seen more managers than years supporting his club , is lost on him. Nor the millions wasted by the club !

  18. @seismic,

    I would not call this Lewis guy a ‘journalist’. A weather vane could be better. By going after Potter he just is licking Chelsea owners’ boots and doing their dirty work. A journalist presents facts.

    Not a mention of the fact Chelsea had 33 players… that Potter had most probably no say at all on who comes and who goes. Chelsea reportedly paid around 20 million euros for a 15 year old kid from Ecuador. Seriously ?!?!

    We are seeing casino players at work here. Then again, throwing money around is not illegal.

  19. seismic, Chris et el

    “Lewis appears to be a “reactionary journalist”, only able to see events in a short-term context, missing the bigger picture entirely”

    Yes indeed, that is exactly what he is. The problem is he plays to an audience that is by and large the same. You only have to take a look at the ‘readers’ comments in the likes of The Mirror, The Mail The BBC to know that.

    When we infamously lost those opening 3 matches it wasn’t just the ‘deadwood’ journalists calling for Artetas head, but a vast number of Arsenal fans as well. Untold has watched and analysed Artetas and the teams progress in minute detail across 4 seasons.


    -Getting the defence sorted.

    -Employing the low tackle approach.

    -Developing the young guns.

    -Implementing an impeccable scouting and buying policy.

    -Re engaging with the fans and turning the Emirates into a high octane theatre of love.

    -Employing an attacking style so flexible an unpredictable it’s almost impossible to plan against.

    It has to be said that none of this could of happened without the full backing and support of our owner and CEO. They stuck by Arteta when those deadwoods were screaming for his head. When many of our fans were calling for change. They not only stuck by him but they have backed him to the tune of £550 Million.(£137M per season) That compares to Wenger’s relatively ‘High’ spending last 5 years of a mere £187 Million. (£37 M per season) So they have well and truly put their money where their mouth is.

    Untold has noted and talked about all these strings being pulled together. Whether we win the Premier League or not, what has happened over the last 4 years has been remarkable. It hasn’t been cheap, and Artetas predecessors relative short comings must be put into perspective with regards to this, but it has worked.

    ‘Bigger Picture’ ‘Long term’ ‘Joining dots’ Don’t make me laugh. These concepts are so alien to a football hack that if you even attempted to explain any of them they would turn to the wall and start quivering like a jellyfish on a spin dryer!!

    The kind of in depth research and data analysis carried out by untold, as well as many of us contributors, is of no interest to these Goldfish brained morons.

  20. @Martin,

    the owners of Arsenal have a multi-million dollar business based on running (not buying and then selling for more) sports clubs. They don’t bet on this player or that result. They look for long term financial results, hopefully positive. They have other businesses as well. They’ve been doing it for a long time. In this regards they are different then most if not all the other owners in the PL.

    And this is something the deadwood outsourced PR scribblers have still not yet understood. But then, when all you do is repeat and move in circles like a weather vane.

  21. @Nitram,

    don’t know what happened ther….was talking IRL with a friend called Martin while writing. ;=))

    Cheers !

  22. The Potter sacking is very strange. He has agreed to provide “continuity services” for the new management (whenever they arrive), by allowing his backroom staff to remain at the club.

    Curiouser and curiouser.

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