David James revealed that he fears Arsenal are in a weak negotiating position in their attempts to sign Mykhailo Mudryk.
The former England goalkeeper claimed that due to Arsenal’s league position, the need for a forward and the current invasion of Ukraine, leave the Gunners in a weak position to try and negotiate Mudryk’s price with Shakhtar Donetsk.
It was reported in the months and weeks leading up to the January window that the 21-year-old winger is Arsenal’s priority target and that demand led to a £55m opening bid launched but was swiftly rejected by Shakhtar, who the Evening Standard report want closer to £85m.
Already this deal has the hallmarks that it could go long into the January window if the Ukrainian side doesn’t back down on their demands with Arsenal very reluctant to pay an £85m price tag that would make him the fourth-highest Premier League signing of all-time.
James relayed his fears on Sky Sports News that it will be tough for the Gunners to make Shakhtar budge on the fee.
“Mikel Arteta would in some ways rather be middle of the table in the sense that his bargaining power has probably weakened by the fact that they’re doing so well in the Premier League.”
“I can only surmise but given a lot of off-field issues in certain parts of Europe, money might be more important than just a traditional football transfer so that might have influence.”
“It’s a difficult one especially if Jesus is going to come back flying because you’re going to have a lot of money spent on a player but he’s a young player, who again in a long-term project could work,” James said.
TIF Thoughts on James’ comments…
Arsenal are in pole position to win their first Premier League title since 2004 and a huge signing like Mudryk could be what’s needed to push them over the finishing line.
His arrival would not only bolster Arteta’s forward line but with Gabriel Jesus out injured until likely the end of February, according to football.london, they’re looking for an alternative for their catalyst so far this season.
Shakhtar are tough negotiators with them previously making Manchester United part with £61.2m for Fred.
With an even bigger star in their midst who bagged ten goals and eight assists already this season, a move especially in January leaves the Ukrainians seemingly in the driving seat for the deal which could prove very frustrating for Arsenal.