For years, Shakhtar Donetsk have had been one of the best football academies in the world. Moreover, that is implemented by a robust scouting network that supplies hidden gems regularly.
The peak of their youth academy was the 2014-15 season when they reached the final of the UEFA Youth League.
However, times have changed now for teams in Ukraine. Due to the ongoing war, Ukrainian clubs have lost numerous players for pennies due to no football. Other teams have taken advantage. However, the biggest bargain to be had was in Mykhaylo Mudryk. According to reports, Arsenal were interested. Nicolas Pepe has been sent to OGC Nice on loan and Mudryk perfectly fit the profile of young, hungry players that Arteta has based his team around. However, Shakhtar repeatedly rejected bids in the region of nearly 40 mil Euros. Why? Because they think he’ll soon be worth far more than that.
So, who is Mykhaylo Mudryk? And how did the “Ukrainian Neymar” announce himself at the big stage? We find out.
Who is Mykhaylo Mudryk?
Mudryk was born in Krasnohrad, situated in Kharkiv province in Eastern Ukraine and took to football from an early age. At the age of 16, he joined the Shakhtar academy.
The 21-year-old is a skilled player that can play anywhere across the front line but prefers the left-wing. Mudryk is a perfect player for teams that love to play an attacking style of football. He can score goals, but his speciality lies in assists. He can find that killer pass that can split open defences. In addition, he can also use his skill and pace to get past defenders.
How good is Mykhaylo Mudryk?
Shakhtar had known early in his development that Mudryk was filled with potential. And as he swiftly rose through the youth system, he was promoted to the senior team in 2018. And then, he was immediately sent on loan to other clubs to ensure that his development did not stall due to limited minutes at Shakhtar.
Mykhaylo Mudryk pulling off a Messi penalty assist!
The Ukrainian Neymar is at it again🔥 https://t.co/5PaSpFte9o
— Zorya Londonsk (@ZoryaLondonsk) October 1, 2019
He made 20 appearances when he was on loan to Arsenal Kyiv and Desna Chernihiv.
While he is still far from the finished product, the signs are that he is a quick learner, which will help sort out his game’s weaknesses.
What the stats say
The 2021–22 season was the best year of his senior career, where he scored two goals and provided nine assists in 19 matches. His brilliant performances were the reason behind Shakhtar’s rise to the top of the table.
Last season, he averaged 4.8 progressive passes per season, one of the highest in his team. He also attempts more than ten dribbles per 90 minutes and has a success rate of over 50 per cent, good enough for a player his age.
He is already on his way to bettering those numbers this year, especially catching the eye in the Champions League. Two goals and two assists in two games have seen Shakhtar remain undefeated after two games.
Mykhaylo Mudryk style of play
Though he is still far from a finished product, Mykhaylo Mudryk’s style is similar to Neymar’s at PSG. Dubbed the “Ukrainian Neymar”, he loves to dribble and use his pace and skill to get past defenders. In addition, he also likes to exploit the width of the pitch.
As a result, you will often find him getting on the byline with the ball. And due to his skilled crossing, he offers a double threat as defenders are unsure whether he will cross the ball or dribble it.
MYKHAYLO MUDRYK HAS ANNOUNCED HIMSELF FOR 🇺🇦⚡️
Gladbach 1-2 Ukraine FT
What a performance from the Shakhtar LW!
He scored with a fantastic finish (unofficial in the record books sadly 😢) pic.twitter.com/F1QPhtI6Jq
— Zorya Londonsk (@ZoryaLondonsk) May 11, 2022
One of his major weaknesses is shooting. And though most of his shots are from positions with low xG, he is also not a great player in the box. Therefore, he is a player who creates a lot of xT (Expected Threat) during his time on the pitch. Next step now is to convert that threat into goals. That step could be coming this season, if his UCL performances are any indication.
Mykhaylo Mudryk transfer news
With Shakhtar drawn into the group with European champions Real Madrid, it is a big chance for Mudryk to test himself the best Europe has to offer. Although Shkhtar and Mudryk haven’t faced Los Blancos yet, their European campaign already saw a high point in a 1-4 away win against Leipzig. Mudryk starred in the game again to announce himself at the European scene.
Mudryk has seen his career turned upside down due to factors beyond his control
As the Ukraine-Russie war tore through the country, Mudryk was left in no-man’s-land.
Mykhaylo Mudryk is optimistic that a transfer from Shakhta Donetsk to Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen can be completed.
— The Transfer Exchange Show (@TheTransferEx) May 18, 2022
After brief flirtations with Leverkusen, concrete interest from Arsenal emerged. However, Shakhtar were adamant that the world hadn’t seen the best of Mudryk yet. And how right have they proved to be! If Mudryk keeps up his early season form, those 40 mil Euros bids could soon look derisory.
As for Mudryk, he showed last year that he is ready for the big stage. He could get the chance to prove it soon.