Arsenal are reportedly poised to secure the services of Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko before the January transfer window closes.
According to a report by Russian outlet Zbirna, Arsenal are set to finally complete the signing of a defender this month. The Premier League heavyweights have been touted to be on the verge of landing 23-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk defender Mykola Matviyenko before the January transfer window slams shut.
Mykola Matviyenko progressed through the ranks at Shakhtar Donetsk before making grade in the senior side midway through the 2015-16 season. However, it was not until last season that the player started featuring more regularly with the senior side, having made 20 senior appearances for the Ukrainian club.
This term, the 23-year-old has enjoyed a proper breakthrough campaign, featuring 21 times across all competitions midway through the season already. It now appears as if his advent in the Shakhtar first-team setup has been taken note of, with Arsenal interested in signing him this month.
The Gunners have been reported to be in the transfer market for a centre-back this month, with Flamengo defender Pablo Mari reported to be one of their top targets. The need to bolster the heart of their defence appears to be imperative for Arsenal, and for good reason.
Calum Chambers is sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a long-term knee injury, while Shkodran Mustafi is the latest defender to pick up an issue. That leaves Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta with David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Rob Holding as the only centre-backs at his disposal.
To that end, Arsenal were believed to be on the verge of securing the services of Mari, only for the deal to collapse at the eleventh hour. As a result, the Premier League heavyweights have had to shift their attention elsewhere; and Zbirna suggest that Matviyenko was seen as an alternative to Mari all along.
The report further entails that all the nuances of a possible January transfer have already been agreed upon between the two clubs, meaning the move could be but a formality now. The only thing left to be decided was whether Arsenal prefer Mari or Matviyenko.
However, with the news of Mari’s collapsed deal coming through, it now appears as if Matviyenko is likely to become the priority for Arsenal. It now remains to be seen if a late move sees the light of the day, with just three days remaining for the January transfer window to slam shut.