How did Chelsea beat Arsenal by signing Mikhailo Modric?

Chelsea completed the signing of the Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhailo Modric For €70m in principle, plus €30m in add-ons, at the weekend, but the Blues were never favorites to land the 22-year-old Ukraine international until the closing hours.

Arsenal led the way in negotiations, while Modric himself seemed to indicate that a move to the Emirates was his preferred choice. so what happened? How did Chelsea convince one of the best youngsters in Europe to join them?

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Arsenal being early

Arsenal held talks with Modric for several weeks before Chelsea increased their interest. Sources told ESPN from the outset that the Gunners were unwilling to meet Shakhtar’s €100m valuation in the structure they initially demanded: the vast majority of transfer fees upfront and with easily achievable add-ons related to player and team performance.

Although the clubs were in regular dialogue, suggesting areas of compromise throughout, Arsenal produced three standout performances. The first came in late December with a total value of around €60m. Prior to making this offer, Arsenal had received positive feedback from the player’s camp that they were open to a move to the Emirates Stadium. In fact, Shakhtar CEO Sergey Balkin claimed in an interview with the athlete That’s manager Mikel Arteta, coach Edu, and Arsenal’s Ukrainian defender Oleksandr Zinchenko He called Modric “almost every day, every two days, every three days.”

Shakhtar quickly rejected Arsenal’s opening bid, but the Gunners were confident they could negotiate a fee below their initial €100m asking price – based in part on the cost of AnthonyA €95m transfer from Ajax to Manchester United last summer – because the player’s desire to leave was increasing. Sources have told ESPN that Modric has been singularly focused on a move to the Emirates, and has told his agents and Shakhtar as such.

The sources added that Modric’s camp had received multiple assurances from Arsenal that they would reach an agreement over a fee. In part this led to Modric posting several updates on social media indicating how keen he was on a move, including instances of him watching Arsenal matches, and on New Year’s Eve when Brighton played Arsenal, describing Roberto De Zerby (his former boss at Shakhtar) . and Arteta as “two of the best coaches”.

Sources indicate that Modric received some advice warning him not to do so in case something went wrong, but the player wanted to leave and Arsenal was the only club at this stage that made any concerted attempt to agree a deal with Shakhtar. The second offer was improved to around €70m, but was again rejected by Shakhtar.

At the beginning of January, Chelsea re-contacted Shakhtar and asked to be kept informed of any developments without formalizing an offer of his own. The Gunners felt there was positive momentum in the negotiations and a third bid – which consisted of a fixed fee of around €70m with add-ons to be discussed – was submitted on 13 January and Shakhtar met willing to discuss the finer points, signaling a step forward in conversations.

Chelsea enter

Arsenal’s third offer came a day after Chelsea were defeated 2-1 by Fulham, a result which one source said fueled the desire to sign Modric at Stamford Bridge. On the day, ESPN reported that the Blues were still willing to pursue a deal for Modric, but had previously focused on deals elsewhere, specifically signing a loan. Joao Felix From Atletico Madrid.

Felix was offered to Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea after his relationship with Diego Simeone deteriorated but the LaLiga club were reluctant to secure a loan fee of around €20m. No team was interested in that money and Chelsea were weighing their options when Atlético announced the price could drop. The Blues swooped in, agreeing to pay an €11m loan fee on top of the player’s wages – a package that the other two English clubs felt was excessive but, in Chelsea’s view, a cheaper deal than was originally proposed.

Felix’s example is helpful with what happened with Modric. Shakhtar were still unwilling to back down from their €100m total, but Arsenal negotiated to a point where a fixed fee of €70m was acceptable in principle.

Sources tell ESPN that Felix’s debut encouraged Chelsea to move with two different senses. Firstly, the initial positive impact Felix made at Fulham showed the benefit of energizing the forward line. Secondly, his red card – and subsequent three-match ban – left him short at a pivotal point in the season. This does not mean that Chelsea entered into a total deal of 100 million euros for Modric because Felix was banned from three matches, but more because the defeat cost them a more valuable ground in the top four race and exacerbated their mounting injury crisis, tipping the balance in favor of signing a new player.

Seal the deal

Sources told ESPN on January 14 that a delegation from Chelsea including Berdad Eghbali, who represents co-owners Clearlake Capital, and global talent and transfers director Paul Winstanley, traveled to Antalya in Turkey (where the Ukrainian side were staging a summer training camp) for face-to-face talks with representatives. Shakhtar.

Chelsea reportedly quickly agreed the initial fee of €70m and were more accommodating in terms of the add-ons Arsenal were still negotiating, mostly relating to the team’s performances in the Premier League and Champions League. Shakhtar’s Palkin later confirmed there was no clause regarding Modric winning the Ballon d’Or, while club president Rinat Akhmetov announced that a friendly match with Chelsea would be played in Donetsk and that 23 million euros ($25 million) of the transfer fee would be donated to Ukraine. The war effort after the invasion of Russia.

Everything was agreed within six hours, according to sources. For a transfer of this caliber, for this amount of money, the speed with which negotiations took place was unprecedented.

As one source put it: “The thing with Chelsea is they move so fast, as with Felix. One week they didn’t think it was worth it. Then things take a turn and the next minute, it’s over.”

Once Chelsea had the agreement in principle, a glamor attack began. The club’s social media accounts began asking for positive messages of support for Modric, bearing in mind he had been publicly flirting with a move to their London rivals weeks earlier. And time was of the essence. A medical took place on Sunday morning and, somewhat unusually, Modric was spotted at Stamford Bridge during half-time of the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Arsenal could have tried to match Chelsea’s total deal at 11 but decided not to, believing they had already overextended themselves in negotiations and would not sign Modric at any cost.

Eventually, Modric signed an 8-and-a-half-year contract (reportedly 7-and-a-half with the option of a further year) at Stamford Bridge, which Arsenal were unwilling to offer anything close. The length of the deal can partly be explained by the Financial Fair Play regulations (the cost of the transfer can be spread over a longer period) but it also represents an impressive commitment on both sides.

Modric of Chelsea and Arsenal are now seeking another solution in January as they look to cement their Premier League title challenge in the coming months.

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