Bournemouth secure £20m transfer of Dynamo Kyiv defender Zabarnyi

Ukraine international Illia Zabarnyi has joined Bournemouth in the deadline day of the January transfer window, the Premier League club have confirmed. The Premier League club will reportedly pay a fee of around 20 million pounds for the Dynamo Kyiv centre-back with his medical scheduled for the transfer deadline day.

The Cherries, who currently occupy 18th spot in the Premier League standings, were eager to strengthen their defensive line during the ongoing transfer campaign. The club’s new owner, Bill Foley, revealed at the start of the month the club would seek reinforcements in January. 

“We need to make these adds [signings] because we have a great team, we’re proud of where we are in terms of our position in the table, but we can do better and we need to acquire a few players and upgrade”, the American businessman said. When asked about the possibility of being relegated from the English top flight, Folley assured the Cherries will stay in the Premier League.

As things stand, Bournemouth have a goal difference of -23, the worst record across the 2022/23 Premier League, and 20-year-old Zabarnyi seems to be a solution to the side’s defensive woes. The Dynamo Kyiv academy product made his senior debut at the age of 18 and went on to feature in 84 games across all tournaments. 

During his four-year stay at the capital club, he won the Ukrainian Premier League title in 2020-21 while also sealing the domestic Super Cup and Cup in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Zabarnyi has appeared in 12 UEFA Champions League fixtures, all as a starter. The central defender has made 22 international caps, having debuted in 2020 in a friendly against France. He played every minute of every game at the 2020 Euro’s where the Ukrainians reached the semifinals.

The player has been nominated for the Golden Boy last years whereas ESPN ranked him 27th in the list of the best players in the world under the age of 21. According to scout Jacek Kulik’s report from 2021, Zabarnyi is a good passer with a decent tackling and heading ability who is also blessed with athleticism and composure. Notably, the scout has likened the Ukrainian to Chelsea centre-back stalwart Kalidou Koulibaly.

Per UA-Football, Zabarnyi has been linked with a number of European giants, including Arsenal and Tottenham, but Bournemouth and another Premier League club, Aston Villa, were the only two contenders to get him this winter. As per renowned transfer journalist Nicolo Scira, the Ukrainian will sign a five-year deal with the Cherries, which will keep him at the Vitality Stadium through to 2026.

Bournemouth have made five signing so far in January in the form of strikers Dango Ouattara (Lorient, €22.5) and Antoine Semenyo (Bristol City, €10m), goalkeeper Darren Randolph (West Ham, free transfer) and left-back Matias Vina (loan with an option to buy for €10m).

On Saturday, Gary O’Neil’s side will resume their fight against relegation with a trip to Brighton & Hove Albion. 

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