Scouts from more than half of the Premier League were in Glasgow on Wednesday to watch Ukraine, 90min understands, with Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk the main target of their interest.
21-year-old Mudryk, a target for Brentford earlier this year, has taken Europe by storm over the past year, with his performances in this season’s Champions League against RB Leipzig and Celtic only boosting the interest in his services.
A number of Premier League sides have expressed an interest in Mudryk – Everton failed with a €30m bid during the summer – and now sources have confirmed to 90min that numerous scouts were dispatched to watch the Ukrainian in action on Wednesday against Scotland.
Centre-back Mykola Matvienko, also of Shakhtar, and Dynamo Kyiv winger Viktor Tsygankov were also being watched closely, but it is understood that the vast majority of suitors were there to take in Mudryk.
Indeed, scouts from Arsenal and Chelsea were at Hampden Park solely to get a closer look at Mudryk.
Members of the recruitment departments from Brentford, Brighton, Everton, Leeds, Newcastle, West Ham and Wolves were all in attendance on Wednesday, while a number of unnamed clubs were also represented in the stands.
It is understood that most clubs were keeping an eye on Mudryk but Matvienko – a long-term Premier League target – and 24-year-old Tsygankov are also on the radars of a number of sides from England’s top flight.
Mudryk played 84 minutes during the game but failed to make the difference for his country as they were comprehensively beaten 3-0 away from home.
Matvienko played the full 90, while Tsygankov, whose contract expires in 2023, came off the bench with around 20 minutes to go.
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That could bring England’s No1 Pickford, 28, into the frame come January.
The England international is also a homegrown player, which is very appealing to his suitors.
The new signings that will dominate the Premier League this season
In every league around the world, there are players who stand head and shoulders above the competition. The players who dominate those around them and put teams to sword.
When it comes to the Premier League, there’s a number of new signings looking to do just that in 2022/23 – and they will take some serious stopping.
Liverpool’s new shiny striker Darwin Nunez was an imperious force in Portugal’s Premeira Liga last season, racking up 26 goals in just 28 appearances for Benfica.
The Uruguayan was equally as effective on the Champions League stage, and it was his performance in the two-legged game against Liverpool that convinced Jurgen Klopp and the club’s hierarchy to part ways with £64m – potentially rising to £85m if Nunez activates all the bonus payments and clauses added on to the deal.
A strong, powerful player, Nunez has already shown what’s to come in some impressive early season performances.
Arsenal have been crying out for a central striker oozing quality ever since Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang fell out of favour before leaving.
In Gabriel Jesus, they have acquired a proven winner, stemming from a number of hugely successful seasons with Manchester City. A versatile player who possesses skill, pace and a keen eye for goal, 25-year-old Jesus is only just entering the prime of his career – and brings so much experience to the table.
The Gunners are looking to bag a top-four finish in the Champions League and, with Jesus leading the line, they have every chance of dominating games this season.
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte demands the very best from each and every one of his players, with the Italian’s standards set as high as anybody in the game.
Croatian winger Ivan Perisic is somebody Conte worked with at Inter, and the pair lifted the Serie A title together in convincing fashion. The 33-year-old is heading towards the twilight of his career, but his incredible fitness, work ethic and mental strength means he remains one of the world’s very best wide players.
Operating as a wing-back these days, Perisic can dominate games in any third of the field, and Premier League defences will be terrified by the unknown threat he carries.
Kalidou Koulibaly has long been recognised as one of Serie A’s best defenders, but now he’s got the opportunity to show that he’s one of the very best the world has to offer.
A terrific reader of the game and fiercely strong in the tackle, Koulibaly has made a habit of pocketing forwards and dominating play from the back – something Chelsea have been crying out since Antonio Rudiger departed for Real Madrid.
Now in his peak years as a centre-half, Koulibaly has all the tools to ensure Chelsea dominate the vast majority of games they play in.
One of the standout performers at Manchester City for a number of years, Raheem Sterling decided to try something new after accepting that Pep Guardiola could no longer offer him the number of his starts his talent deserves.
City’s loss is very much Chelsea’s gain, with 27-year-old Sterling established as one of the Premier League’s most consistent forwards. Be it scoring goals, creating chances or breaking on the counter at pace, the England international continues to strike fear into defences up and down the country.
Already a member of the Premier League’s ‘100 club’, expect Sterling to deliver in spades full for Graham Potter and Chelsea.
Fulham returned to the Premier League in style last season, storming to the Championship title at a canter.
Life won’t be so easy for the Cottagers in the Premier League, but in Joao Palhinha they may have completed one of the most impressive bits of transfer business in the division. A star player at Sporting CP, Palhinha has all the attributes required to dominate Premier League midfields – with his stunning goal at Nottingham Forest a glimpse of what he can do.
Standing 6’3 tall, Palhinha was once named in the Premeira Liga Team of the Year, and he could push Fulham towards safety with some commanding displays.
Chances are if one player is going to dominate the Premier League above all else, it’s going to be Erling Haaland.
In the interest of sporting fairness, it was probably a touch unnecessary for Manchester City to sign Haaland, given how good they are already and given how unbelievably good he is. Nevertheless, the reigning Premier League champions got the deal done for a steal of a price – and the Norwegian now looks primed to tear defences apart week after week.
Unbelievably athletic and incredibly consistent, Haaland’s career statistics speak for themselves, and his opening day double-salvo against West Ham was the first warning shot to the rest of the Premier League – the 22-year-old is here and he is here to dominate.
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Sir Alex Ferguson backed Eric Cantona to become Man Utd’s ‘President of Football’
Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson backed him to become the club’s ‘President of Football’, only for former CEO Ed Woodward to pour cold water on the concept.
Cantona, one of the Premier League’s first global icons after breaking away from the Football League, joined United from bitter rivals Leeds in 1992 and would go on to win four titles and two FA Cups with the Red Devils.
After retiring in 1997, Cantona coached France’s beach football team for 14 years, while he also had a brief stint as Director of Soccer for the reformed New York Cosmos.
But speaking to The Athletic, the Frenchman revealed he had other grand plans to return to football, insistent on helping out former club United.
“Last year I proposed to the club to change their way,” Cantona said.
“Ed Woodward is great at marketing but not great at football. I think you have a chairman and should have a president of administration/marketing and then a president of football, who is in charge of all decisions in football.
“So I proposed to them to be ‘President of Football’.
“First I met Sir Alex Ferguson, to say this to him and know what he thought about it. And he thought it was a good idea.
“He introduced me to Mr. Woodward…I met him a few times. But they did not accept it!
“I said to myself: ‘For five years I will put everything on hold and concentrate 100 per cent on that’. And if I concentrate 100 per cent on that, then I can tell you, I would do it very well; very, very, very well.
“They did not want me! The fans have to know that I went and travelled to Manchester to give them the opportunity to succeed in the next decades. And they did not want it.”
Cantona also asserted he did not want to accept an ambassadorial role with the club, adding: “I have the kind of personality that does not want to be an ambassador.
“To be an ambassador of the club you have to do the promotion of the club. And me, well if I want to say something, I will say it. Most of the things I say are great things, but if I think something that the people from the club do not like, then I am [now] free to say it. As an ambassador, you cannot say these kind of things, so you lose your freedom.”
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