Arsenal chief Edu Gaspar will be looking to bolster Mikel Arteta’s playing squad in a bid to cement their status as firm title hopefuls heading into the January transfer window.
And a double swoop for two exciting young talents could help seal just that.
The Gunners’ interest in Mykhaylo Mudryk is clearly no secret as a transfer saga has seemingly developed over the last few months. Speaking about the club’s interest in the Shakhtar Donetsk wonderkid, The Athletic’s David Ornstein told HaytersTV:
“Mudryk is the player they want to sign. They followed him for a long time, he was on their list of potential candidates during the summer transfer window. They looked at Pedro Neto as the priority then, but now they’ve turned their focus to Mudryk.
“They are in talks with Shakhtar and the player’s representatives. Arsenal are trying to do the deal.”
The Ukraine sensation will provide some valuable depth in the final third, primarily on the left flank, which could allow Gabriel Martinelli to thrive centrally in the three-month absence of namesake and Brazil compatriot, Gabriel Jesus.
However, the north London giants shouldn’t stop there as they have also been linked with a move for Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez, who recently won the young player of the tournament award at the World Cup.
They face competition from pretty much every giant across Europe’s elite divisions you could think of, which is hardly a surprise given his recent success.
The 21-year-old gem was one of the real stars of Qatar as he kept established names like Leandro Parades out of La Seleccion’s starting lineup. He would be able to not just provide valuable depth in the engine room – with Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey lacking quality behind them – but also rival them both.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Fernandez is capable of influencing a game at either end of the pitch, having provided two goal contributions across his five starts at the World Cup.
Meanwhile, the “phenomenon” – as described by scout Jacek Kulig – ranks in the top 1% for non-penalty expected goals and assists (0.45), attempted passes (96.83) and progressive passes (9.50) per 90 when compared to his positional peers across Europe, via FBref.
Displaying the intention and vision to play the ball forward, rather than to the side or behind, is an asset that will certainly catch the eye of Arteta, so just imagine sealing him alongside Mudryk – the rest of the Premier League would be on watch as it’s the Gunners who would have two exciting young ballers for the long-term future.
Fernandez, though, won’t be cheap as Benfica are adamant that his €120m (£105m) release clause must be paid in full – a fee that would be a “bargain” in the eyes of BBC analyst Statman Dave – but on the above evidence, he’d be worth every penny as the north Londoners look to clinch their first top-flight title in 18 years.
Just imagine Mudryk and Fernandez, alongside the likes of Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
That’s one hell of a core for the future.