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Mikhailo Mudryk: Shakhtar to donate £20m of Chelsea transfer fee to Ukrainian soldiers

Shakhtar Donetsk will donate more than £20million of the transfer fee received for Mikhailo Mudryk to Ukrainian soldiers.

The 22-year-old forward joined Chelsea for £88m on Sunday after the Blues moved late to hijack a move to Premier League rivals Arsenal.

Shakhtar held out in negotiations for the biggest possible fee with a portion now set to go to “soldiers, defenders and their families” in the ongoing defence against the Russian invasion.

“I want to thank the entire civilised world for helping Ukraine,” club president Rinat Akhmetov said in a statement.

“We can only talk about Ukrainian football because of the Ukrainian army, the Ukrainian people and the tremendous support we have had during this incredibly difficult time. And the only way we can defeat the evil that has come to our homes is by working together.

“I am donating $25 million (UAH 1 billion) of the transfer fee to help our soldiers, defenders and their families. The money will be used to cover different needs, from providing medical and prosthetic treatment and psychological support, to meeting specific requests. It will be managed by an independent professional team that will work with the Azovstal defenders, their families, care providers and volunteers.

“This is the beginning of the Heart of Azovstal, a brand-new project that will help the Mariupol defenders and the families of fallen soldiers. Their acts of bravery are unparalleled. And it is their sacrifice and courage that helped contain the enemy in the first months of the war, providing the platform for the inevitable Ukrainian victory.”

Akhmetov also confirmed Chelsea will face Shakhtar in a friendly in Ukraine.

“I am happy for Mykhaylo and very proud of him. He has shown that talent and hard work can make the impossible possible. And I have no doubt he will shine at Chelsea and across Europe,” he added.

“On the other hand, I have never made it a secret that my dream is to win European trophies. This means that we need players like Mykhaylo in Ukrainian clubs, competing at the European level. Unfortunately, that is impossible at the moment, because of this unjust war being waged against us by the Russian Federation.

“But I remain utterly confident we will defeat the aggressor. One of the things I look forward to most after our victory is Mykhaylo returning with his Chelsea team for a friendly match in Donbass Arena in a Ukrainian Donetsk.

“We must do everything we can to bring this day closer. We are forever indebted to our soldiers!”

Mudryk joined Chelsea on Sunday (Reuters)
Mudryk joined Chelsea on Sunday (Reuters)

Mudryk had looked poised to sign for London rivals Arsenal before a last-minute intervention from recruitment head Paul Winstanley and co-owner Behdad Eghbali on Saturday, with the pair flying to Turkey to negotiate the deal.

He becomes the 14th first-team signing since Todd Boehly bought the club last year, with total spending for his short reign now totalling over £350m.

Portugal international Joao Felix signed on loan from Atletico Madrid for around £9m as the club’s fourth January buy last week, before being sent off on his debut at Fulham on Thursday.

Raheem Sterling, Wesley Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly have also arrived this season for significant transfer fees as Boehly set about rebuilding Chelsea’s squad.