The astonishing deal believed to be worth in the region of £88m, which has taken Ukrainian winger Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk to Chelsea, has aided the Ukraine war effort to the tune of around £22m.
The club president Rinat Akhmetov immediately promised to allocate 25% of the fee to assist the soldiers and their families to cover a variety of needs, including medical and prosthetic treatment, as well as psychological support.
The incredible windfall will provide a massive boost to the cause, in what the president described as “acts of bravery which are unparalleled in modern history.”
Implausible contract signed
The 22-year-old travelled to west London to complete a medical before signing a remarkable eight-and-a-half-year deal, which will take him through to the summer of 2031. This record transfer for Ukrainian football will according to Akhmetov, help a project named “Heart of Azovstal” aimed essentially at assisting the Mariupol defenders, together with the families of fallen soldiers.
Arsenal was first choice
Mudryk previously indicated a desire to join Arsenal, but they were not prepared to meet the very high valuation placed on the player and walked away, leaving the path clear for Chelsea to step in, backed by owner Todd Boehly’s billions.
Improvement has been startling
Before this season the promising youngster had been just that, a player of promise and certainly not bracketed as someone with such an extravagant price tag. Indeed, he was largely unheard of outside of Ukraine and actually only rated at around the £1m in the transfer market at the beginning of last season, so his rise has been meteoric.
His club’s Director of Football, Darijo Srna, has liked him to Kylian Mbappe and Vinicius Junior, which is about as high praise as could be bestowed in the modern game.
Excellent recent record
The appointment of Roberto De Zerbi 18 months ago, who has since left for Brighton, definitely helped to instil self-belief and in the period from that point, he has scored nine goals and provided 13 assists in 23 Ukrainian Premier League appearances.
Wanted man but it is the Londoners who have taken the chance
When taking into account the dreadful environment he has had to perform in, with the unlawful Russian invasion, following on from the effects of the pandemic, they make very impressive stats. It seems that his three goals and two further assists on the European stage this season have catapulted his presence to the attention of all the leading clubs, in all the big leagues, and it is Chelsea who have taken the plunge.
Spreading the cost could be risky
He is probably still pinching himself, particularly at the length of contract, which has been a feature of Chelsea’s dealings of late. New technical director Christopher Vivell, and director of global talent and transfers, Paul Winstanley, are in charge of recruitment and their strategy appears to one where they spread the cost of players over many years.
It is a risky strategy, and probably one which will be reliant upon regular Champions League football; something that at present looks out of their reach, certainly for this season.
Anything is possible
The president said he was very happy for the player and very proud of him too; insisting that he is a leading example, proving that talent and hard work can make the impossible… possible.
Nevertheless, he admitted it was tinged with sadness, as his dream was to win European trophies for Shakhtar, so losing Mudryk weakened such a dream. “The horrendous fighting and unjust war being waged against us by the Russian Federation makes it impossible, for now”, he said; before adding: “I am confident it is a war we will win, and we will play a friendly against Chelsea at Donbass Arena in Ukrainian Donetsk.”
Debut at Anfield?
Mudryk could make his debut for the London club in their Premier League clash with Liverpool, at Anfield on Saturday 21 January.