Chelsea to play Shakhtar friendly in Ukraine after sealing Mudryk deal
Graham Potter ‘relieved’ after Chelsea record just their second Premier League win since October
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Chelsea will play Shakhtar Donetsk in a friendly in a ‘Ukrainian Donetsk’ as part of their £88million agreement to sign winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, according to the club’s president. The Blues will travel to Ukraine at a future date to the Donbass Arena to face Shakhtar as part of Rinat Akhmetov’s plans to help repair Ukraine when their ongoing conflict with Russia eventually concludes.
The Blues confirmed the signing of the 22-year-old before their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, with Mudryk paraded in front of his new fans at Stamford Bridge.
The youngster was given a rapturous reception as he walked out onto the pitch and he did not miss the opportunity to make a public statement with the world watching, with a Ukraine flag draped over his shoulders.
Chelsea are set to pay a total fee of £88m which includes add-ons, believed to be based upon winning the Premier League and Champions League during his mammoth eight-and-a-half-year contract. But another stipulation in the agreement, inserted by Akhmetov, will see the clubs participate in an exhbition match in Ukraine.
In a statement released by the Shakhtar president in which he thanked the world for their “tremendous support” of Ukraine, he opened up on his mixed feelings about Mudryk’s departure after the most expensive transfer in Ukrainian football and revealed his ambition for the friendly to take place in Donetsk when it is under Ukrainian rule.
“First and foremost, I want to thank the entire civilised world for helping Ukraine. Today we are able to talk about Ukrainian football thanks to the Ukrainian army, the Ukrainian people, and the tremendous support of the entire civilised world. Only by joining efforts we will defeat the evil that has come to our homes,” Akhmetov said.
“I have mixed feelings today. On the one hand, I am happy for Mykhaylo and proud of him. This guy is leading by example, showing that talent and hard work can make the impossible possible. I am absolutely confident that the entire Europe will acclaim Mykhaylo’s brilliant and fine play.
“On the other hand, I have never made it a secret that my dream is to win European trophies. This means that players like Mudryk should be invited to our club, to our Ukrainian championship, and we should win European trophies with such players, rather than root for them, even when they play in the world’s top clubs.
“Unfortunately, it is impossible now, as Ukraine is fighting the horrendous and unjust war waged against us by the Russian Federation. But I am confident that we will win. And we will play a friendly against Chelsea at Donbass Arena in a Ukrainian Donetsk.”
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