Chelsea's £78m transfer decision speaks volumes as Mykhaylo Mudryk 'protected'

Mauricio Pochettino was pleased with Chelsea’s performance.

Chelsea have only signed one new attacking player for the first-team in the summer transfer window, despite a flurry of departures and links with big names, and it points to how much faith Todd Boehly has invested in his £88million signing Mykhaylo Mudryk. The Ukrainian has struggled to make an impression since his big-money transfer in January, but there is a clear belief that he will eventually repay his massive fee after Chelsea turned down the chance to sign Neymar this summer.

It has transpired that with Chelsea looking to spend some of the £230m raised from offloading 17 players this summer, PSG star Neymar appeared on their radar. Boehly is a big fan and has already tried to sign the Brazilian once before – but Graham Potter wasn’t too keen.

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano reports, however, that the west London club decided against taking up the opportunity to sign the explosive winger for £78m because it would have meant hampering the development of their golden boy Mudryk.

Back in January, Boehly and co-owner Behdad Eghbali hopped on a jet to Istanbul to negotiate with Shakhtar and Mudryk in a bid to beat Arsenal to clinch his signature. Within six hours, Mudryk was not only their player, he was on the plane back to London with them.

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Mykhaylo Mudryk: The Ukrainian winger is yet to score for Chelsea. (Image: Getty)

It’s no wonder then that the American billionaire feels a certain need to wrap him in cotton wool to protect his purchase.

That represents quite a leap of faith from Chelsea, given Mudryk is yet to score in 18 appearances for the club, with only two assists to show for his creative work. For a player of his ability and potential – and the money invested in signing him – the Blues would expect more.

However, there is a school of thought that Mudryk required a longer period to settle in to life in England than other players. After all, he had not played for his club in six weeks due to the fact the Ukrainian side did not play between November and January.

His English was far from perfect too, and the switch from being the biggest fish in the Donetsk pond to swimming in a crowded pool in a London was a difficult transition. In a squad of new players trying to gel together, Mudryk got swept away in the current and finished the season as an impact player.

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There are signs that under Mauricio Pochettino, Mudryk is starting to acclimatise and understand the expectations of him. In pre-season, he linked up superbly with Nicolas Jackson before smashing a well-hit bouncing volley past Jason Steele in a 4-3 win over Brighton.

And his emphatic celebration said everything about how much the goal – even in a meaningless exhibition game – meant to him after facing pressure and criticism. Pochettino has also stated his happiness with how the 22-year-old has responded to working with him so far after holding conversations with his new boss.

“I spoke with all the players, a lot, Mudryk also because he was in Barcelona for a few days and we exchanged messages,” Pochettino said in July.

Mauricio Pochettino: The Chelsea boss is a fan of Mudryk. (Image: Getty)

“I’ve found a really good kid. He is still young with a massive potential.

“The most important thing is that we need to earn the trust and confidence in us. We are building the relationship with him and with different players. They need know us and how we act in every situation. We’ve had many chats and I’m happy about that.”

Mudryk recently said he feels he has only shown ’20 per cent’ of what he can do in the blue shirt – and the majority of Chelsea fans would agree. Now, with Christopher Nkunku out until December and Chelsea turning down Neymar, there is nothing in the way to stop him from flourishing this season.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1802304/Chelsea-transfer-news-Mykhaylo-Mudryk-Neymar