Atalanta agree pre-contract with Shakhtar star Kovalenko

The Ukraine international has already signed a deal with the Serie A side and could join next month

Atalanta are set to add Shakhtar Donetsk star Viktor Kovalenko to their squad, with the midfielder having already signed a pre-contract.

Sources have confirmed to Goal that Kovalenko, whose contract with the Ukrainian side expires in June 2021, has come to terms with the A league side.

Kovalenko is set to join Atalanta at the conclusion of the current season, though it is possible that Gian Piero Gasperini’s side will attempt to bring the midfielder in January.

The signing of Kovalenko is a coup for Atalanta, who have secured the Ukraine international despite interest from a host of other Italian clubs.

The 24-year-old came up through Shakhtar’s youth ranks and has established himself as a key member of the squad, helping Shakhtar to four Ukrainian championships, four Ukrainian cups and two Ukrainian Super Cups during his time with the club.

Kovalenko made his debut for Ukraine’s senior national team in 2016, taking part in that year’s European Championships, and has gone on to earn 30 caps for his country.

Kovalenko, who can play multiple positions across midfield, has played eight league matches and three Champions League games this season, scoring four goals.

The midfielder will be the second recent addition for Atalanta, who also recently signed Danish international right-back Joakim Maehle from Genk.

Atalanta paid the Belgian outfit €10 million (£9m/$12m) for the 23-year-old, who will join the Italian club next month.

Those signings could potentially offset the departure of Alejandro “Papu” Gomez, who appears to be on his way out of the club after a bust-up with Gasperini.

Gomez has been dropped from the squad for two straight matches, stemming from his refusal to change positions in a Champions League match earlier this month.

The departure of Gomez would be a blow for Atalanta, who have come to rely on the 32-year-old for creativity in recent seasons.

Gomez has led the league in assists twice in recent seasons, but has now requested a move to either AC Milan or Inter.

The two Milan sides currently sit first and second in the Serie A table, with Atalanta in seventh place, 12 points behind table-topping AC Milan with one game in hand over the Rossoneri.