Ukraine, unexpected actress of the winter transfer window

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Hit by war following the Russian invasion of its territory, Ukraine remains a great land of football and if the context is not suitable for its talents, they are nonetheless appreciated on a European scale. This winter has made it well noticed since the biggest sale in the history of Ukrainian football has just taken place. 22-year-old left winger at Shakhtar Donetsk, Mykhaylo Mudryk fueled the greed of the biggest European clubs since this summer. While Arsenal held the rope for a long time to offer his services, it was ultimately Chelsea who raised the stakes the most in order to reach a price of 100 million euros, i.e. 70 million euros fixed and 30 million euros in bonuses. A transfer that allows him to overtake legend Andriy Shevchenko (44M€ at Chelsea in 2005) and become the most expensive Ukrainian player of all time.

What is also striking is that Oleksandr Zinchenko is third after his transfer to Arsenal last summer for 35 million euros. Arrived at Everton a year ago against 23.5 million euros, Vitaliy Mykolenko ranks sixth and confirms that Ukrainian football has a good generation and seems more ready to export. The war is obviously a reason that accelerated things, but there was also an improvement in local training before the conflict broke out last February. Already in Western Europe for a while, Ruslan Malinovsky (29 years old) was loaned with option to buy a few days ago to Olympique de Marseille from Atalanta. Another official and quite surprising transfer, Viktor Tsygankov (25 years old) left Dynamo kyiv on Tuesday for 5 million euros when his contract ended next June. Yet mentioned in the past on the side of AS Roma, Sevilla FC, Naples or even Tottenham, he finally opted for the promoted Spanish Girona.

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A rather disturbing choice for a player who has performed well this season (23 matches, 9 goals and 6 offerings) who was also followed by Anderlecht, but also PSV Eindhoven this winter to replace Cody Gakpo, but who wanted at all costs to join one of the five major championships. Catalan training should serve as a springboard for him to confirm what he was doing in Ukraine. Still in La Liga, Andriy Lunin (23 years old) is popular and is doing great things with Real Madrid despite a low playing time. Thibaut Courtois’ understudy has 7 appearances this season for 3 clean sheets. According to Report many formations have come to snatch his coming. Ajax Amsterdam held pole but eventually opted for Geronimo Rulli when the Ukrainian refused. The latter would also have received proposals from the Premier League and the Bundesliga, but the goalkeeper under contract until June 2024 does not want to leave during the season and will not make a decision before this summer. An extension at Real Madrid or a departure? Andriy Lunin will be a more urgent matter this summer than this winter for the merengue club.

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At home, others are still waiting to take the plunge. If it looks complicated for Mykola Shaparenko (24), currently the victim of a ruptured cruciate ligament and whose return is scheduled for next March, his young teammate from Dynamo kyiv Ilya Zabarnyi (20 years old) popular in the Premier League. Last summer, Tottenham positioned themselves at the end of the transfer window, but the young player ultimately stayed at the club. Leeds United, Leicester or Southampton have been mentioned without anything concrete progressing, but a departure this winter or this summer cannot be ruled out. On the side of rival Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli are monitoring a few elements, as Carlo Nicolini, deputy director of football, pointed out in remarks collected by Sport : “Scouts look at strong players, especially if they are young. Napoli has one of the best scouting structures in Italy, led by Cristiano Giuntoli. They contacted us before many competitors, analyzing the players. They asked about many players, but no official offer. They asked not only about Mudryk, but also about Manor Solomon, Anatoliy Trubin and Georgiy Sudakov». Anatoliy Trubin (21 years old) precisely arrives at a year and a half of his contract and pleases Tottenham for the after Hugo Lloris as reported by the Daily Express. If Ukraine is in the grip of one of the darkest periods of its history, its football on the other hand is doing well.

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