Everton confirmed Vitaliy Mykolenko’s arrival from Dynamo Kyiv on New Year’s Day. The defender signed a four-and-a-half-year deal at Goodison Park and his arrival could see the Toffees let Lucas Digne leave in the winter market.
Rafael Benítez has left the France international out of his squad for the last four matches, but the Merseyside club’s new signing has admitted he is joining Everton to learn from the likes of Digne and others.
Mykolenko has given a detailed interview to Dynamo TV and made these comments when asked how he feels about the competition at Everton.
“I’m going there to grow in professional terms and to learn from a competitor like Digne. We meet when playing for the national teams. This is a big step and great success that I will study and train on equal terms with such players,” he said.
The Ukraine international revealed he first became aware of the Premier League side’s interest on December 12th. The fullback also detailed what he went through after the two clubs reached an agreement for his transfer.
“I learned about the interest on December 12, after the game with Zorya. I was told that I needed to be at the club office the next day and that there might be an offer,” the left-back explained.
“I didn’t even know which club. When asked if I had an English visa, I realised that it was an English club. When I arrived, Ihor Surkis [Dynamo president] gave the example of his daughter. He said that I was like a son to him, and I had to decide whether to stay at Dynamo, win trophies and receive a decent salary.
“‘But if you’re ready, say so, and we’ll keep negotiating,’ he said. I replied that I did not know if I was ready, but I really wanted to. And desire is probably the most important thing in football and in life. When Igor Mikhailovich told me ‘you are like a son’, I thought about things.
“There were tears later when there was a conversation between the presidents of the two clubs, and everyone agreed. There were many rumours, and at first I did not believe that it could be with me.
“My parents and girlfriend told me it’s all like a movie. And when everyone agreed, I got in the car and cried. I had 40 minutes to go home, and probably 30 of them, I cried. I called the girl’s parents, cried with them, then cried myself. It’s hard to explain the feeling – I was very happy, and at the same time it was very scary.”
Mykolenko was delighted to have held talks with the former Liverpool manager and also enjoyed meeting with the Spaniard after completing the move to Everton.
“I talked to him and I can say that he is a very positive person. Maximum positivity and maximum ease in communication. Everyone loves him,” the new Everton signing added.
“It started [first meeting with Benitez] with the phrase ‘Hello! Nice to meet you!’ We had breakfast with agents at Everton, and Benitez arrived after breakfast. He explained the requirements of the team, how it plays, what mistakes are made by defenders, what cannot be made – all in all. Then we took another picture, and he said he was waiting for me in the team.”
Mykolenko was quizzed if he held talks with Andriy Yarmolenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko, who are currently at West Ham United and Manchester City respectively, before joining Everton.
He said, “I talked to Yarmola. Zinchenko called immediately after the signing. We talked about housing and household issues, as Yarmolenko lives in London and Oleksandr is much closer to Liverpool. We even discussed that we could live nearby.”