ARSENAL have stepped up their pursuit of Ukrainian superstar Mykhaylo Mudryk with an opening bid of £35million plus a further £17.5m in add-ons.
That offer is likely to be rejected by Shakhtar Donetsk, who are looking for as much as £60m for the exciting 21-year-old.
But the Premier League leaders are optimistic that a deal can be struck and believe the player is eager to move to the Emirates in the January transfer window.
And they hope that offering more of the fee up front could be enough to persuade Shakhtar to cash in on their ten-goal star.
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke has already given the green light for a New Year spending spree to boost his team’s shock title bid.
And with striker Gabriel Jesus likely to be sidelined for the next two months following knee surgery, Mikel Arteta is keen to add more fire power to his squad as soon as the transfer window opens on Sunday.
But they are not going to have things all their own way and with Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid all having been linked with the player in the past, Shakhtar are hoping that Arsenal’s bid will start an auction.
Back in November Shakhtar goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin openly admitted a move for Mudryk to Arsenal was in the works.
He said: “I like that he is focused only on himself, his and the team’s game. Fans don’t really see that much. No one sees what he is doing away from the football field.
“All these transfer rumours affect him only in a positive way, because he enjoys what he does.
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“And, in the team, we can tell him; ‘well, you’re already at Arsenal, let’s all go!”
That expectation has finally morphed into something tangible for the winger.
Shakhtar director Carlo Nicolini admitted Arsenal’s interest in a recent interview, but also warned other clubs had expressed an interest in him.
Mudryk has proven his worth in the Champions League this season, with Celtic and RB Leipzig being on the end of receiving of some particularly dazzling displays.