For the first time since 2016, when Leicester City upset the odds in one of the greatest shocks in the history of sport, Arsenal have a genuine chance of winning the Premier League

Top of the table at the turn of the year, Mikel Arteta's side have a golden opportunity to end their 19-year wait for a fourth Premier League crown.

January investment is required if Arsenal are to successfully resist the challenge of holders Man City and the Gunners have set their sights on Shakhtar's 21-year-old forward, Mykhaylo Mudryk.

But who is he and does he have the potential to help Arsenal stay the course in the race for the title? have answered all the key questions around the Ukranian's immiment arrival in England.


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Is Mudryk a direct replacement for Gabriel Jesus?

This isn't just a panic buy. Gabriel Jesus' injury would have sent shockwaves through the Arsenal hierarchy but it's a slick operation at London Colney.

Mudryk has long been on the radar of Europe's top clubs and is widely regarded as one of the most exciting young attacking talents in the world.

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal sporting director Edu came close to a summer approach before turning their attention to Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz after injuries to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny.

A January move for the winger may have always been the plan, but Jesus' pre-World Cup knee injury has made it a more pressing priority. 

Arsenal’s young front three of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Jesus have carried their pace-setting season from the front with aplomb, but a goalless draw with Newcastle on Tuesday night laid bare the need for reinforcements.

Arteta’s desire for more firepower predates the season but the urgency is increasing by the day during this winter window.

Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah, supported by club captain Martin Odegaard, have done an outstanding job leading from the front in Jesus’ post-World Cup absence but the Gunners were crying out for attacking alternatives against an obdurate Magpies backline. 

Prior to his injury, Jesus was making hay as a central striker with Martinelli and Saka either side of him but it's unlikely Mudryk would be a like-for-like replacement.

While Mudryk is not a traditional No 9 and therefore not a direct replacement for Jesus, Arsenal see the Ukrainian as an option to replace on Martinelli on the left wing when needed.

Mudryk has played most of his minutes as a left attacking midfielder but can play centrally behind the striker too, meaning he could offer relief to a host of Arsenal players.

With 10 goals and eight assists in his last 18 appearances for Shakhtar, Mudryk could provide the spark Arsenal need to sustain their title charge.


Will Arsenal lose out to Chelsea?

News broke on Tuesday evening that Arsenal's Premier League rivals Chelsea had joined the race for Mudryk's signature. 

Chelsea are now understood to be exploring the possibility of making their own approach for Mudryk, despite Arsenal positioning themselves at the front of the queue to sign him.

The Gunners have been locked in negotiations with Shakhtar and are hopeful of agreeing a deal soon having had one formal bid rejected already.

Shakhtar have publicly valued Mudryk at £88 million in the wake of Premier League deals taking Jack Grealish to Manchester City from Aston Villa and Antony to Manchester United from Ajax.

Arsenal’s first bid was worth up to around £55 million and there was a growing expectation within the game that a deal would eventually be agreed.

Chelsea’s potential move for the player could change that, or at the very least contribute to Mudryk’s price being driven upwards. 

And the west London club have form when it comes to hijacking moves late in the day. In 2013, Chelsea snatched Shakhtar winger Willian from the under the noses of bitter rivals Tottenham.

And seven years before that, Chelsea beat Man Utd to the signing of John Obi-Mikel, despite the Nigerian having an agreement in place to join the Red Devils. 

Will history repeat itself this year? Arsenal's title chances might depend on it.

Does Mudryk want to join Arsenal?

If you go by Mudryk's public flirtations with the club, then the answer appears to be yes.

Earlier this month Mudryk told a popular Ukrainian TV channel that he “can’t say no” to Arsenal.

He also agreed to an interview with Vlada Sedan, the wife of Arsenal left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, and reiterated his admiration for the north London club.

More recently, after it emerged that Arsenal had made a formal offer for his services, Mudryk posted on social media to show he was watching their match against West Ham.

He then did the same on Saturday, uploading a picture of Arteta and his former coach Roberto De Zerbi, now of Brighton, on the touchline at the Amex Stadium with the caption “2 top coach”.

Mudryk also shared a highlights reel of his performances with a song that features the lyrics: “Still gotta see the Gunners win Premier League”. 

More broadly, Mudryk's eagerness to join the league leaders is indicative of how appealing they have become as a destination for top-level players.

The Emirates is now a place where young talents go to thrive, and it is no wonder that a player of Mudryk’s talent feels he would be well-served by joining Arteta's revolution.