Who is Mykhailo Mudryk? Arsenal target's stats, contract details, FIFA 23 card, shirt number

Who is Mykhailo Mudryk? Arsenal target's stats, contract details, FIFA 23 card, shirt number

One of the most highly rated young talents in Europe could be on his way to the Premier League as part of his dream of winning the Ballon d’Or when the transfer window reopens in January 2023.

Mykhailo Mudryk has long been sought after by top clubs on the continent and has acknowledged that he could be leaving Ukrainian Premier League side Shakhtar Donetsk imminently — although he admits to being shocked at the suggested size of the fee involved.

English top-flight leaders Arsenal are thought to be the frontrunners to land the cat admirer and Ukraine international, who has discussed the prospect of joining the Gunners in detail and confessed his disappointment at early interest from Nice, Bayer Leverkusen and Brentford coming to nothing.

What would Mudryk bring to Emirates Stadium? What’s his link with Neymar and what does he make of hearing from Arsenal fans on social media? Read on for those details and more.

MORE: Arsenal transfer news: Latest January window updates

Why Arsenal need Mykhailo Mudryk

Before the Premier League schedule resumed following the 2022 FIFA World Cup, no Arsenal player had been directly involved in as many goals as the 11 to which Gabriel Jesus contributed.

The Brazil forward sustained a serious knee injury at the finals and it is unclear when he might return as his club side begins the second half of a season they hope will end in Premier League glory.

Jesus’ injury has led to renewed calls for Arsenal to strengthen their squad, which some have argued would also come at a perfect time when the club’s form, league position and likelihood of returning to the Champions League next season have put them in a powerful position to fend off key rivals in the transfer market.

Mudryk is clearly a player who Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta would relish coaching in what are still his formative footballing years.

In a glowing assessment of his progress, the Coaches’ Voice cautioned that Mudryk could improve on his ability to find teammates when faced with a compact low block and said that his game needs “fine-tuning”.

That challenge would suit Arteta, who has improved a youthful squad through his work on the training ground and is becoming increasingly used to helping Arsenal break down stubborn defensive opponents, as he showed when his team recovered from a goal down to comfortably brush aside West Ham on December 26.

One of Mudryk’s Ukraine teammates, Oleksandr Zinchenko, has encouraged Arsenal to make the move, according to 90min, which has said that the fullback’s presence at the club could increase its appeal to their target.

Mykhailo Mudryk height, age, bio

Born in the city of Krasnograd in Ukraine’s Kharkiv Oblast, 5ft 9in (1.75-metre) Mudryk is a product of Metalist Kharkiv’s academy and was at Dnipro before joining Champions League regulars Shakhtar.

His bedroom wall was adorned with pictures of top players such as Ronaldinho when he was a youngster. One photo showed Mudryk as a mascot for a game between Ukraine and Uruguay, standing next to Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.

Two goals for Ukraine Under-16s against Slovakia in 2017 demonstrated his early promise at international level, followed by a direct involvement in six goals in as many appearances in qualification for the U17 European Championship.

Mudryk made his debut for Shakhtar as a 17-year-old in 2018, but then-coach Paulo Fonseca reportedly voiced early doubts over his attitude.

“He sometimes didn’t hear what the coach said to him,” Shakhtar captain Taras Stepanenko told The Athletic in December 2022, discussing the player who had loan spells at the aptly-named Arsenal Kyiv and Desna Chernihiv shortly after making his Shakhtar bow.

Roberto De Zerbi was hugely impressed by Mudryk when he became Shakhtar boss in 2021, becoming perhaps the first coach to name him as one of the best players in Europe.

The forcefully charismatic De Zerbi’s outspoken faith in Mudryk brought the best out of him. He provided seven assists and scored twice in 11 top-flight appearances the following season, as well as featuring in Shakhtar’s unsuccessful Champions League group-stage campaign and helping them to win the Ukrainian Cup.

Ukraine are keen for Mudryk to be part of their Euro U21 finals squad in the summer of 2023 after he contributed to four goals in five appearances as part of their qualification run, and he has since established himself as a senior international, playing in all of Ukraine’s UEFA Nations League matches in 2022.

De Zerbi’s new club, Brighton & Hove Albion, were unsurprisingly thought to be contenders to sign Mudryk before Arsenal stepped up their interest amid a blistering start to the season for the Shakhtar sensation.

As well as scoring seven goals and laying on a further six in 12 UPL appearances, Mudryk has found prolific form in the Champions League.

After setting up two goals and scoring himself in Shakhtar’s opening 4-1 victory at RB Leipzig, Mudryk netted in both of their games against Scottish giants Celtic, playing all but 21 minutes of a group stage that included a 1-1 draw with reigning champions Real Madrid.

Those goals against Celtic demonstrated Mudryk’s strong finishing skills, with his strike in Glasgow coming from distance.

Dnipro forward Artem Dovbyk narrowly beat Mudryk to the UPL Player of the Year award for 2022, which is voted for by players.

Mudryk revealed on Instagram that he was spending the 2022/23 winter break in Dubai, which was also where Arsenal’s squad members who were not involved in the World Cup headed.

Ukraine’s narrow failure to qualify for the finals meant he watched the action from afar. The tattoo enthusiast has pictured himself with a cat and sounded a warning when a video went viral showing a member of Brazil’s media team forcibly removing a feline from the table at a press conference during the tournament.

“He who offends cats ends up exiting the World Cup,” Mudryk said of the pre-tournament favourites who went out to Croatia in the quarterfinals.

Fans have likened Mudryk to Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr, World Cup top scorer Kylian Mbappe, and another PSG superstar: there are some dubbing him ‘The Ukrainian Neymar’.

That accolade appears not to have gone unnoticed by the Brazil playmaker, who sent Mudryk a personal message of video support.

Mudryk has offered his thoughts on Arsenal. “I know when they’re playing, so I can check on them,” he told Vlada Sedan (via Zorya translation), calling Arteta’s side “very dynamic… not just in controlling possession, but also in scoring goals”.

MORE: Watch every Premier League match live with fuboTV in Canada

“From a purely theoretical or fantasy perspective, if there was the option of being a bench player for Real Madrid or a starter for Arsenal, I’d probably choose Arsenal,” he said of the potential level of patience required to wait for a first-team berth.

“I would first want to know from the head coach that even if I wasn’t a guaranteed starter, I’d receive a chance. Essentially, I need to hear directly from the manager what he envisages my role to be in his side. The team’s style of play will play a role. It’s very important to me.

“One surprise for me was how many Arsenal fans followed me. No other club’s fans have interacted as much as them. They were telling me that they are waiting for me, saying ‘come to us’. One of my recent [social media] posts has more than 500 comments saying that.”

When he was asked whether he would be “upset” if he did not make his much-mooted move in the winter of the 2022/23 season, Mudryk gave a long pause and replied: “Yes.”

Mudryk transfer fee and contract

Amid reported rival interest from Newcastle United, Manchester City and PSG, Shakhtar general director Serhiy Palkin was quoted by The Athletic in November 2022 as saying that a club would pay €100 million (£88.5m / $106.5m) for Mudryk’s services.

Heavily followed Ukrainian journalist Viktor Vatsko said that Mudryk has a release clause of €150m (£133m / $160m) in his contract, although that seems a fanciful total for his suitors to fork out even by the lavish standards of Premier League deals.

Subsequent reports have suggested that Shakhtar might accept a minimum of €65m (£57.5m / $69m) for their most coveted player.

By the end of 2022, the most commonly quoted price for Mudryk by reporters was £85m (more than $102m), with Shakhtar confirming that discussions with Arsenal were continuing frequently.

Mudryk was said to have been a little frustrated at the idea of being priced out of a move. “When I found out about my price, I wasn’t just surprised — I was shocked,” Sportarena also quoted him as saying. “I have a long-term contract with Shakhtar. I give all my strength and energy so that [Shakhtar] achieve maximum results.”

Mudryk told Sedan he had spoken to “two or three head coaches” directly or through a translator the previous summer.

“They were Nice, Bayer [Leverkusen] and Brentford,” he revealed. “When it didn’t work out, I was a bit upset — but as we can see now, God’s plan is better than my dreams.”

Unbeaten Serie A leaders Napoli have also caught Mudryk’s eye. “They’re playing really well at the moment with some great players,” he said, naming the other teams he has found best to watch in 2022/23 as “Bayern [Munich], Manchester City and Arsenal”.

Details of Mudryk’s current pay packet are scarce. His Shakhtar salary was around $75,000 (£62,000) during the 2018/19 season, according to Capology — a modest sum for an elite footballer and one that he would be certain to dramatically increase at any of Europe’s leading clubs.

If a move to Arsenal were to materialise, Mudryk might expect to earn a similar basic salary to fellow 21-year-old rising star William Saliba, who receives more than £2m ($2.4m) a year, according to Spotrac.

At the end of 2022, regulations meant Arsenal were allowed three more non-homegrown senior players in their squad. Mudryk, however, would count as an under-21 player.

What position does Mudryk play in?

Mudryk is a right-footed wideman who is quick with both feet. He can stick to the touchline when width is the priority or come inside to play as a Gabiel Martinelli-style inverted winger as part of a more narrow formation, using his technical ability and acceleration to go past players.

He would augment an attacking line-up that is based around speed, skill and an eye for goal, as the likes of Martinelli, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka have shown during an outstanding collective start to the season that has seen Arsenal lose only one of their opening 15 games in the Premier League, moving from Champions League hopefuls to credible title-contenders.

Mudryk has spoken in the past about filling a central striker role but has largely been deployed on the left wing by Shakhtar, so he would not be expected to replace or compete with Jesus at the point of Arsenal’s attack.

Wherever he plays, Mudryk wants to win the most prestigious individual prize in football. He told Roman Bebekh (via Zoyra translation): “De Zerbi asked me, ‘what is your dream?’. I said to win the Ballon d’Or. He asked me, ‘do you believe that you can?’. I said yes. He took these words very seriously and later told me that he believes I can win it, under him.”

Mudryk key stats

Mudryk has played 38 times in the UPL, scoring nine times and assisting on 13 occasions. His 12 appearances in the Champions League group stage have resulted in three goals and two assists.

He has been booked five times and sent off once in the UPL, as well as receiving three cautions in the Champions League.

Ukraine have capped Mudryk eight times, starting him in four of their last six games before the end of 2022. He is yet to score for his country but has been booked twice.

Mudryk FIFA 23 card

Mudryk has an overall FIFA 23 rating of 74 and the following stats, according to Futhead.

  • Pace: 88
  • Shooting: 63
  • Passing: 67
  • Dribbling: 78
  • Defending: 44
  • Physical: 58

An increase in Mudryk’s speed could be one development to look out for. Bebekh reported that Mudryk “spends almost every day” at the gym working with a personal trainer, adding that his 36.6km/h record for sprint speed in the Champions League group stage is “only 30%” of his potential. “My aim is to reach a 40km/h sprint,” added Mudryk.

Mudryk’s top speed is narrowly faster than the equivalent recorded in the Premier League during the pre-World Cup section of the 2022/23 season: 36.5 km/h by Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez.

Martinelli was second to Nunez on 35.9 km/h, so look out for the foot races at Arsenal training if Mudryk becomes a regular at their London Colney base.

What shirt number does Mudryk wear?

Mudryk wears the No.10 for Shakhtar and Ukraine. He has also favoured 11, 14 and 20 during his career and once appeared as a No.9 at international youth level.

It is unlikely that Arsenal’s No.10, Emile Smith Rowe, will pass over the number he has worn for the past two seasons despite his current long-term absence through injury, and it would be a surprise if Martinelli (11) or Eddie Nketiah (14) were to leave the club in 2023.

The No.20 is a possibility because occupier Nuno Tavares is on loan at Marseille until the end of the 2022/23 season.

Portugal youth international Tavares was denied the option of a permanent move to the French club at the end of his season-long loan and is under contract at Arsenal until 2025, which may necessitate the possibility of a more leftfield squad number for Mudryk if he joins the club.

According to Transfermarkt, Mudryk has worn the No.91 shirt during three seasons at Shakhtar and his loan spell at Arsenal Kyiv.

Alternatively, one of the vacant lower numbers at Arsenal, such as 28, 29 or 32, could appeal.