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Paul Merson is unconvinced Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma could be the perfect alternative target to Mykhaylo Mudryk as Shakhtar Donetsk continue to dig their heels into the ground over an £85million January transfer. The Gunners have been waiting for the Ukrainian giants to budge over their 22-year-old superstar, who has been the subject of two rejected bids from the Gunners to date.
Arsenal have made Mudryk their top January target but, so far, they’re yet to show a willingness to match Shakhtar’s sky-high valuation of the player.
Supporters are now growing impatient over the lack of new signings after Arsenal dropped two points in their intense 0-0 draw with Newcastle on Tuesday night.
Calls for Arsenal to divert their attention to Mitoma have been gathering traction on Twitter since the Japanese international netted a fine goal in Brighton’s 4-2 defeat to the Gunners on New Year’s Eve.
Even though Mitoma has since found the net again in Brighton’s 4-1 win at Everton, Merson is unconvinced he would be the right fit for Arsenal as they continue their Premier League title push.
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Merson exclusively told Express Sport: “Arsenal need to set Shakhtar Donetsk a deadline with Mykhaylo Mudryk. They’ve offered £62m and it should now be ‘take it or leave it’ otherwise the January transfer window will soon be over.
“I’m not sure about Mitoma. You’re playing for Brighton at the moment, it’s nice. They were beaten 4-2 at home to Arsenal and nobody said a word.
“It’s a different game altogether. Arsenal drew at home to Newcastle and it’s the end of the world for them at the moment.
“I don’t see how Mitoma would cope with it, it’s a big step up. I know Mudryk is coming from Ukraine but he’s been playing Champions League football and ripping it up.
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“With Mitoma, I’d give it until the end of the season before I went and bought him to be honest.
“I do like him but I want to see another four months or so when it starts getting hard.
“But if he carries on doing what he’s doing then I think there will be a lot of teams after him in the summer.”
Mitoma was signed for just £2.6m from Kawasaki Frontale before being loaned to Tony Bloom’s Union Saint-Gilloise last season.
He has since taken the Premier League by storm following impressive cameos against Newcastle and Liverpool from the bench.
The talented 25-year-old then scored his first goal in the 3-2 win at Wolves before pushing Leandro Trossard out of Roberto Di Zerbi’s team at the Amex Stadium.
Arsenal are now hopeful that Shakhtar will eventually lower their asking price for Mudryk, who has made it very clear he wants the move to north London.
The jet-heeled forward is now patiently awaiting movement as Chelsea prepare to hold talks with Shakhtar.
Director of football Darijo Srna will reportedly be at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night to watch Chelsea in action against Manchester City.
Srna is then expected to sit down with the Blues to discuss the potential sale of Mudryk.
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