Paul Merson believes Arsenal will be ‘very disappointed’ after missing out on , and suggests the club will now attempt to sign Barcelona winger Raphinha this month.
Arsenal made the Shakhtar Donetsk star their top January target but saw three bids for the winger rejected.
hijacked the deal over the weekend, agreeing to pay Shakhtar’s huge £88million asking price with the Blues unveiling their latest signing during Sunday’s 1-0 win over .
It leaves Arsenal, who extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to eight points after beating Tottenham, to pursue other targets with Raphinha among them.
The Gunners failed in their bid to sign the Brazil international from Leeds United last summer with Barcelona beating them to his signature. The 26-year-old has started just seven La Liga games this term and with the Spanish giants still under financial pressure, Merson believes his former side will reignite that interest.
‘They will be very disappointed, of course they will,’ Merson told Sky Sports over Arsenal’s failure to sign Mudryk.
‘They have been chasing him for a couple of weeks, it’s all been Arsenal talk, will they pay enough, will they go a little bit more. Then Chelsea have come from absolutely nowhere and blown Arsenal out of the water and that is what it is like.
‘Now they have got to regroup again. Surely they will have had a couple of other players in the pipeline, surely they haven’t put all their eggs into one basket. I think they might go for Raphinha at Barcelona. Barcelona have still got to settle their books.’
Mudryk made no secret of his desire to join Arsenal this month but has now signed an eight-and-a-half year deal with one of their biggest rivals.
Reports have claimed Chelsea are paying the 22-year-old a salary worth double the one Arsenal put on the table, with Merson warning the Gunners may be better off ‘not rocking the boat’ by disrupting their wage structure.
‘He is probably getting more money at Chelsea. He is probably getting bigger wages,’ Merson said.
‘If Arsenal then go, “right we will give you those wages”, how do you think those players are going to react? It is a happy dressing room at the moment, if you start bringing in players and giving them, 200, 300 grand, players start getting unsettled.
‘You are better off not rocking the boat. These chances do not come along too often. They are top of the league, you have got to seize the moment and you don’t want to ruin that.’
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