Sunday, January 29, 2023

Potter backs big-money signing Mudryk will excite Chelsea fans

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 15 Jan 2023

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Graham Potter believes Chelsea fans are in for a treat with Mykhaylo Mudryk’s direct approach.

The Blues announced the signing of Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk during the first half of their 1-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, and paraded the Ukraine international at Stamford Bridge during half-time.

That victory came courtesy of Kai Havertz’s second-half header and ended a run of three straight defeats across all competitions for the Blues.

Mudryk had looked set to join Premier League rivals Arsenal, but Chelsea swooped in to secure his signature, reportedly paying £89million (€100m) to sign the 22-year-old.

Potter is confident he will be a hit with Chelsea’s supporters, telling reporters: “You’re never surprised in the transfer window. Things happen when you don’t expect them to happen.

“He’s a player with a big future, one versus one he’s very direct, and he attacks the backline. I think our supporters will really like him.”

Eyebrows have been raised at Chelsea’s decision to hand the 22-year-old an eight-and-a-half-year contract, but Potter sees no problem.

“I’m the head coach and as you know, I’ve had enough to worry about and what is right for the club,” he added. “If I’m here for the length of his contract, I’ll be happy.”

Mudryk is Chelsea’s fifth signing of a busy January transfer window, and one of those additions made their debut against Palace, with Benoit Badiashile, signed from Monaco, featuring in defence.

The 21-year-old impressed, making a game-high nine clearances and playing more successful passes (71) than anyone on the pitch.

“I thought Benoit did well, really well,” Potter added.

“It was a good game for him. [Kalidou] Koulibaly has had a lot of football and the turnaround from Thursday was a consideration.

“He passes the ball well and when he needed to head the ball out he did. He has to adapt to the Premier League. It will take him some time, but it was very positive.”

With Chelsea dealing with a long injury list, as well as the suspension of on-loan Joao Felix, Havertz came good at the other end.

Since the start of last season, only Harry Kane (11) has scored more headed goals in the Premier League than the Germany international (six), who acknowledged it has been a difficult spell for the Blues.

“The last few weeks were tough,” he said. “For everyone at the club, it is not easy under these circumstances. A lot of things changed this year.

“We have so many injuries, 10-12 injured players. Today we had five young players in the starting XI and they are doing a really good job at the moment.

“I think I was in a good spot. I play in the number nine position and I take the responsibility to score more goals. As a team need to score more goals. I will do my best to help the team.”

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