Chelsea captain Azpilicueta backs 'brilliant' Mudryk to justify £89m price tag
- Ukrainian winger snapped up from Shakhtar
- Short on match sharpness at present
- Expected to shine in the Premier League
WHAT HAPPENED? The Ukraine international is settling into life at Stamford Bridge after being prised away from Shakhtar Donetsk by the Blues. Arsenal appeared to leading the race for his signature at one stage, but it is Chelsea that have invested heavily in his potential and there was enough blistering pace and quick feet on show in a 0-0 draw at Anfield to suggest that the 22-year-old winger can make a positive impression in English football.
WHAT THEY SAID: Chelsea captain Azpilicueta believes as much, with the veteran Spanish defender telling reporters of his exciting new team-mate: “I’ve seen a very focused lad with great determination, great ambition. It was his first game since November so, for him, it was like pre-season, he played 35 minutes at Anfield so it’s not the easiest debut and I think he did brilliantly. He has a great connection with the fans as well. He’s a player who can have that mix between playing good football with his feet and also running into space. You could see his speed.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Azpilicueta added on Mudryk having to live up to his hefty transfer fee: “He’s very confident. The price tag, I know from the outside it’s there but we players don’t make the prices, it’s a market and when you are in the market, you have competition to get players so I don’t think it has to lie on his shoulders. He just has to express himself the way he has been doing. It’s great to see his energy and he will be a very important player.”
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WHAT NEXT? Mudryk’s last outing for Shakhtar was on November 23, meaning that he is still working his way up to full match sharpness, but Chelsea are confident that they have acquired the hottest of prospects and will look to get more important minutes into him over the coming weeks – starting in a derby date with west London neighbours Fulham on February 3.