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Mudryk? Lindstrom? Will Arsenal buy to complement Saka or replace him?

COMMENT: Mykhaylo Mudryk. Jesper Lindstrom. Is Edu targeting them to play with Bukayo Saka? Or to replace the young Arsenal midfielder...?

It's been dragging on for months. At least a year. Maybe more. Saka and these contract talks. Both Edu, the club's technical director, and manager Mikel Arteta have been vocal about their confidence of striking terms. Yet, after each break. After each transfer window. There remains no news. And the problem is, things are now reaching the pointy end.

If nothing can be settled before the World Cup, which Arteta has publicly stated is his wish, then the Gunners will be facing a crunch choice. With Saka's deal running to 2024, Edu will have to make the call of whether to persist with negotiations, or start seeking a replacement.

As we say, an attacking midfielder - much in the guise of Saka - is on the agenda. Contact has been established for some months with Shakhtar Donetsk for Mudryk. While in Germany, barely a year into his move to Eintracht Frankfurt, Lindstrom has confirmed Arsenal are watching him.

"It is always fantastic to play in the biggest league in the world, but whether Arsenal is right for me is difficult to say," said the Dane just days ago. "Right now I'm in a good place in Frankfurt, but it's nice that there are clubs like that are looking at me.

"Something might have to happen at some point, but right now I'm fine. It's a huge confidence boost. It's one of the biggest things as a footballer, so I'm obviously very happy."

At 22, Lindstrom is slightly older than Saka, but the similarities are obvious. The Brondby youth product is a free-scoring midfielder. A player who can be employed on either flank, or through the middle. Something which his coach, Oliver Glasner, is happy to exploit, "Jesper is someone always available to make super runs and perform super actions".

And the German press are full of it. Arsenal are in contact - and a January bid cannot be ruled out. Indeed, amid the sudden speculation, Markus Krosche, Eintracht's experienced sporting director, responded on Thursday morning, stating: "It is not our goal to lose top performers during the winter break. We want to keep our key players."

But a matchwinning Champions League performance against Olympique Marseille, plus three goals from midfield in just the opening month of the Bundesliga season, has only strengthened Lindstrom's case in Edu's eyes.

However, the Dane isn't Arsenal's only option. Mudryk, who saw a €30m offer from Everton rejected in August, is also on the agenda. At 21, he's similar in age to Saka. Again, he's also similar in style. Will create. Will score goals. Can play as an old-fashioned winger or through the middle. And like Lindstrom, is happy knowing Edu has Arsenal's scouts watching him.

“The Premier League is the best league in the world and everyone wants to play in this league," said the Ukraine international. This was before Mudryk 'liked' a mocked up social media snap of him in full Arsenal kit and declaring he was signing for the Londoners.

In the end, however, it was Everton who were confirmed as the one formal bidder over the summer. Shakhtar's football chief Darijo Srna, who knows a thing or two about wing play, declaring: “We received an offer of €30million [from Everton].

“Mudryk is a serious talent. After Kylian Mbappe and Vinicius Jr, he's the best player in Europe in his position. If someone wants to buy Mudryk they must spend a lot, a lot, a lot of money and respect our club and our president."

So will it be one or the other? Or both? Saka is a great talent. No doubt. Indeed, Tite, the Brazil coach, says he'd be a first choice for the Selecao if he qualified. But while we have two, young, exciting wingers making it clear they'd jump at the chance of joining Arsenal, Saka - at 20 years of age - is still umming and ahhing over the fine print.

And it really is reaching that point. The deal on the table is worth nigh double Saka's current £70,000-a-week arrangement. But among the obstacles yet to be navigated is the player's demand for a buyout clause. And no doubt it'll be a competitive one. Not the billion euro jobs of Barcelona and Real Madrid.

So again, as Lindstrom and Mudryk make clear their excitement over the mere interest coming from London Colney, Saka, even if he does pen new terms, has his eyes on bigger things. There is definitely something not quite right with how these negotiations are running.

Which could force Edu's hand come the New Year. Instead of adding a Mudryk or Lindstrom to complement Saka, Arsenal could be buying one - or both - to replace the young midfielder.



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Chris Beattie

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