Kvaratskhelia is ideal Arsenal Mudryk alternative but deal impossible

Mikel Arteta sees little margin for error if Arsenal are to become champions

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Having missed out on Mykhaylo Mudryk, Arsenal are scouring for alternatives. And they already have their eyes on one player who could be the perfect addition, one who has been one of the very best in Europe this season, Napoli’s Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.

The tricky Georgian has been sensational for the Serie A leaders with nine goals and 12 assists in 20 matches, including a pair of eye-catching performances against Liverpool in the Champions League. And Arsenal are said to be keeping a keen eye on the 21-year-old, per 90min. They will not be the only ones.

Kvaratskhelia was picked up as a relative unknown from Georgian side Dinamo Batumi last summer – the player having previously been at Rubin Kazan in Russia – and his value has skyrocketed in his short time in Italy so far.

So much so, his agent Christian Emile, has publicly declared the player worth £87million (€100m). That is almost 10 times the amount what Napoli paid just last summer.

The predominantly left-sided winger with a desire to dribble has earned the nickname ‘Kvaradona’ for his performances, which have helped Napoli’s fanbase grow in confidence of their first title triumph since 1990. Watching him with the ball at his feet, it is a nickname he deserves.

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Already one of the most dangerous wide-men in the world, Kvaratskhelia would be an immensely exciting signing for Arsenal. But sadly for the Gunners, a deal appears nigh-on impossible to do.

Napoli are already looking to tie the winger down to a new contract. That is a reflection of his sensational start to life in Naples, and club director Cristiano Giuntoli has publicly declared there is “absolutely no chance” of the attacker leaving any time soon.

Napoli’s controversial owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is a notoriously tough negotiator and there is extremely little prospect of him allowing the club to lose such a talent while they are contenders for every trophy available. Certainly, at least, not for the money Arsenal would be looking to pay to do a deal this month or this summer.

The north Londoners bowed out of signing Mudryk at around £88m, and any club in Europe would be doing exceptionally well to convince Napoli to part ways with Kvaratskhelia – already under contract until 2027 with an extension coming – at that sum.

Just look at how Napoli kept hold of Kalidou Koulibaly and only agreed to sell him after his prime years. Any deal to prise the Georgia international away would take well over £100m. And an attempt to negotiate that fee lower than that, right now, would be laughed off by De Laurentiis.

And £100m-plus does not appear to be money that Arsenal have to spend, or are willing to spend, despite their desire to give Mikel Arteta a new forward. It appears they would prefer to max out at nearer to half that if they can. Sadly perhaps Kvaratskhelia – a self-confessed Real Madrid fan per Marca – may never grace the Premier League.

The challenge for Arsenal, having missed out on Mudryk, is to find a player who can offer the same threat but at far less a price. It is no easy task but their recent business with the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Martin Odegaard in particular shows they know very well what they’re doing.

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