Congratulations to Mykhailo Mudryk on signing the first contract in professional sporting history that might actually outlast the existence of human civilisation as we know it. In eight and a half years, we will have just entered the summer of 2031, which kind of sounds like a cyberpunk Bryan Adams parody. Nobody can say what the world will look like in a little under a decade’s time, but the smart money would be on it being considerably worse.
As we circle the plughole of sanity and reason with hastening terror, the only thing we can truly speculate on with any kind of excitement is the method of our expiration, rather than its likelihood. Will we all succumb to the inevitable pressures of climate change, watching helplessly as society tumbles into disarray as friends and neighbours pillage and murder for vital finite resources, like fuel, medicine, and a speedily-dwindling global supply of Soleros? Will we all be swallowed up by the hellish mushroom cloud of a nuclear armageddon, brought about by the brittle whims of a handful of posturing megalomaniacs with inferiority complexes? Or will we, in fact, be kneecapped by a hitherto unconsidered threat that we are yet to even imagine? Perhaps an overly intrusive archaeological dig that awakens an ancient, lurking evil, like Lord Cthulu himself, or a flesh-craving zombified reanimation of Genghis Khan’s Mongol horde? For what it’s worth, my bet is on aliens; Tom Delonge is our last remaining hope.
The point I’m trying to make is that a lot can happen in eight and a half years, especially in a world that feels as if it is already teetering on the precipice of implosion. But while the rest of us are stocking up on tins of Spam for the Anderson shelter and planning to watch The Last of Us with a notepad and pencil in case we can pick up any handy tips, Todd Boehly is out here throwing around multi-year contracts that are set to last longer than most marriages.
Since replacing Roman Abramovich in the boardroom at Stamford Bridge, the brash American has hardly been shy when it comes to matters of the wallet. Already Boehly has financed a spending spree that has exceeded £445 million, including potential add-ons, but arguably no swoop has been as exorbitant as the £88 million or so that he forked out to hijack Arsenal’s move for Mudryk. The Ukrainian, with his first touch like PVA-dunked velcro and his blonde curtains like the eye candy in a ‘90s boy band who isn’t allowed to speak in promotional press interviews for reasons of intellect, is evidently a talent. But £88 million for a player with 12 career goals feels, at best, excessive, and at worst, recklessly impulsive. (Shakhtar Donetsk, the winger’s previous employers, have since announced that some £20 million or so of that fee will be donated to Ukrainian soldiers and their families, which is, of course, commendable, but does little to explain Boehly’s willingness to pay such a high price for a relatively unproven acquisition.)
And the length of Mudryk’s deal only adds to the sense of uneasy mystification. Eight and a half years. One hundred and two months. Three thousand one hundred and four days. In terms of blind aspiration, it’s positively Pardew-esque. And we all know how that turned out.
But then again, maybe, just maybe, Todd is on to something. If Mudryk turns out to be even a fraction of the player that his recent showings hint at, then what better deterrent for circling vultures than a deal that stretches throughout the remainder of his twenties? In essence, Boehly has convinced his new signing to put pen to paper on the contractual equivalent of a chastity belt, and if the American chooses to swallow the only figurative key, then so be it.
Really though, Todd’s scheme might not even be that convoluted. Why worry about the financial commitment of an eight and a half year deal when the world is going to be rendered uninhabitable by 2027 anyways? Chelsea’s owner might just have made a stunning, epiphanic realisation that is going to trebuchet him and his club into a bold, uncaring future. Proclaim your false promises, get that daft tattoo you’ve always wanted, steal a yacht and sail to Barbados; welcome to the comforting embrace of apocalypse-induced nihilism. Nothing matters, so live la vida loca while you still can.
The rest of us might be marooned in the penny-pinching purgatory (emphasise on the Tory) of January 2023, but Todd… well, Todd is living in the summer of 2031.