MYKHAILO MUDRYK has a capital “F” tattooed on the side of his right hand and an “E” on the left.

When he brings them together in prayer as a practising Christian, it forms the Portuguese word for “faith”.

Mykhailo Mudryk signed for Chelsea in deal worth a potential £88million

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Mykhailo Mudryk signed for Chelsea in deal worth a potential £88millionCredit: Getty
Mudryk is covered in religious tattoos

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Mudryk is covered in religious tattoosCredit: Instagram
He has limited experience in the Champions League, but has been clocked as being almost as fast as Usain Bolt

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He has limited experience in the Champions League, but has been clocked as being almost as fast as Usain BoltCredit: https://www.instagram.com/mmudryk10/
Mudryk is not one for nightclubs and prefers to stick to sport

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Mudryk is not one for nightclubs and prefers to stick to sportCredit: https://www.instagram.com/mmudryk10/

As the subject of an astonishing £88million transfer to Chelsea on the longest contract ever awarded in the Premier League, it seems most appropriate.

Chelsea are placing a whole lot of faith in a pretty much unknown winger from war-ravaged Ukraine to deliver the goods over eight and a half years.

Mudryk, 22, will be over 30 when the time comes to exercise his right to a Bosman free transfer in 2031.

The son of schoolteachers from Krasograd in the Kharkiv region is financially sorted for life come what may.

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Nice work for a kid with less than 50 Ukrainian league games to his name and limited experience of the Champions League.

The extraordinary size of the fee readily handed over by Chelsea chairman Todd Boehly and the remarkable length of the contract are the two eye-watering aspects of what would otherwise be a routine signing – the 13th since the American takeover.

Mudryk will not be alone growing old at Stamford Bridge. New defender Benoit Badiashile has signed for seven and a half years, right back Reece James for six and a half recently.

A club which for so long thrived on chaos theory and deliberate uncertainty to drag the best out of elite professionals has now turned 180 degrees, and is doing its best to make everyone feel safe and secure until they have grey whiskers.

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The rationale behind it is no more than high street accountancy. Boehly can splash £88m on Mudryk and spread the fee across the length of the contract.

That makes it a lot easier to comply with incoming rules on financial sustainability limiting clubs to spending 90, 80 then 70 per cent of revenue on wages, transfers and fees over the next three years.

But while it won’t break the bank or trigger a mass clearout to balance the books, the policy is not risk-free.

Mudryk leaves Shakhtar Donetsk an up-and-coming star, with international caps and recognition from Uefa as one of the best young players in the group stage of this year’s Champions League.

He was officially clocked running 36.6km/h (22.7mph) at one point.

But no deal is 100 per certain. Boehly only need look back at Chelsea’s previous accounts to look at the money wasted on striker Romelu Lukaku – the closest to a sure thing you could get.

Prior the move, Lukaku won the Serie A title, scored four goals at Euro 2020 for Belgium and boasted a wealth of Premier League experience.

But that proved to be £97.5m thrown away on an unmitigated disaster of a move to Stamford Bridge.

If it can happen to him, it can happen to rookie Mudryk.

Foreign players are not guaranteed to settle in London. Again, Chelsea burnt their fingers on Spanish striker Alvaro Morata who did not realise it rains a lot over here.

Managers come and go at clubs. The average lifespan of a Premier League coach is barely two years.

It is why other Premier League clubs have thought about seemingly endless contracts but haven’t actually gone there. Only teams with the monetary muscle of Chelsea can weigh up the pros and cons and still take the plunge.

Mudryk impressed in the Champions League for previous club Shakhtar Donetsk
Mudryk impressed in the Champions League for previous club Shakhtar Donetsk

“Smaller clubs have to be more… choosy”, said one source.

If faith is at the centre of this shaking up of the transfer system then Mudryk will not fail for the want of believing in himself.

Yuri Sviridov, head of communications for Shakhtar Donetsk, told SunSport: “Of course it is always a risk when players come to England from other countries. But for Mykhailo, football is his professional and private life.

“He doesn’t waste his time with girlfriends or nightclubs.

“I have never seen a player like him, doing so much extra, repetitive drills. He will regularly do more than an hour after training. Even if the coach says he doesn’t want him to.

“His personal dream is to win the Ballon d’Or. He is quick, two-footed and employs his own personal fitness coach. Here only players who are getting close to retirement do that to get more out of their bodies. Never in one so young.”

Mudryk is already making his presence felt in England. He has asked for the Shakhtar Donetsk club chef to join him over here to work as his personal nutritionist.

With an academic family background, his English is of good standard and most of the tattoos which adorn his body are of a religious nature.

Arsenal and Tottenham were both keenly interested in Mudryk ahead of Chelsea but baulked at the price which naturally inflated as more and more of Europe’s wealthiest teams showed their hands.

The North London giants gave up in the end and Chelsea have their man, for a long old time.

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Interestingly, at Shakhtar, Mudryk was kept out of the team by Israeli midfielder Manor Solomon – who cost Fulham just £6m last summer.

Chelsea fans – pray this move works out.





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