As reported by Metro, Mykola Matviyenko’s agent, Yuriy Danchenko has confirmed that Arsenal are in talks with Shakhtar Donestk regarding the potential arrival of the defender.
“Recently, my colleagues and I have been constantly in contact with representatives of the Arsenal, and have had meetings. The Gunners’ hierarchy have already contacted [Shakhtar], and we hope that these negotiations will succeed”, Danchenko told Ukrainian media.
Who is Mykola Matviyenko?
A product of the Shakhtar youth academy, Matviyenko has been a part of the senior side since 2017. He was a bit-part player for Shakhtar in the domestic league last season. But, the defender has enjoyed his breakthrough in the ongoing campaign, having already featured in 14 league games so far.
Matviyenko has built a solid defensive partnership alongside Serhii Kryvtsov that has seen Shakhtar concede only nine goals in 18 matches – best record in the league. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the Ukrainian giants are leading the table, with a handsome 14 point lead over second-placed Dynamo Kyiv.
The 23-year-old’s consistent performances have also earned him a regular place in the Ukrainian national team, with the defender already winning 26 caps for his country. And given his performances, Matviyenko is probably ready to take the next step in his career by moving to the Premier League.
What can he bring to the table?
In order to figure out as to whether or not Matviyenko would be a good acquisition for Arsenal, it’s important to know what he can offer in defence. On paper, the Shakhtar star is not the tallest of centre-backs, standing at 1.82m. But, he is quite good when it comes to restricting the opposition time and space on the ball.
Indeed, Matviyenko is very clever and rarely commits himself into tackles, meaning it is challenging for an attacker to get past him using tricky footwork. Moreover, the 23-year-old is a physically astute centre-half, giving him a considerable advantage during defensive phases. However, his passing can be questionable, at times.
Is Matviyenko a good target for Arsenal?
Arsenal clearly lack the services of a reliable defender. It was evident in their performance against Chelsea when Shkodran Mustafi’s error led to David Luiz’s red card. And in the end, it was Granit Xhaka who emerged as the best defender for the north London giants, thus highlighting their defensive problems.
Meanwhile, Calum Chambers is out injured for a long period of time after suffering an ACL problem. Hence, the arrival of Matviyenko could provide Mikel Arteta with some much-needed depth in the defensive department.
The Ukrainian international has shown a lot of promise in the domestic league and even in the UEFA Champions League. Although he is still yet to be tested at the highest level of football, Matviyenko’s presence could surely aid Arsenal as they aim to solve their defensive issues.
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