The Ukrainian’s recent rise has been so rapid that up until last season he was relatively unknown outside of Belgium where he played his club football for Genk.
But after netting an unprecedented 16 goals for Belgian champions during the title winning campaign in 2018/19 he was snapped up by Atlanta in a £12.3m deal, where his form has been so impressive that – according to The Express – Chelsea have sent Claude Makelélé to scout him.
Chelsea are currently under a two-window transfer ban that will end in the summer, but here’s five things you need to know about the man who could be top of Frank Lampard’s shopping list come July.
Since making his switch to Atlanta over the summer, Malinovskiy’s sheer quality on the ball has begun to surface. In the Champions League this season he boasts a passing accuracy of 86.4%, and in Serie A he has begun to pick out passes that the average play simply wouldn’t see.
Chelsea have lacked a central midfielder who can unlock defences since Cesc Fabrégas left the club last season.
When combined with their pacy front line, Malinovskiy could be the perfect man for the job.
Despite all this though they have tended to fade in games and have often dropped points from winning positions.
At 26 years-old, with 26 Ukraine caps and Champions League football under his belt, Malinovskiy could bring experience to a side that has struggled to manage games this season.
Chelsea fans will point to how former Napoli midfielder Jorginho struggled for much of last season as evidence of this.
But, standing at just shy of 6ft tall, with a strong build, Malinovskiy, is unlikely to be phased by the intense pressure that Premier League sides will inevitably put on him.
In the age of attacking or defensive midfielders, it is rare to find a complete central midfielder who can do both.
Capable of operating as a number six, a number eight, or a number 10, Malinovskiy is the type of midfielder who pops up all over the place, winning 5.6 duels per game on average in Serie A this season, while also playing 1.9 key passes per 90.
With N’Golo Kanté injured this season, Chelsea’s midfield has looked passive in some games. Malinovskiy could inject the kind of all action style that Frank Lampard wants in the middle of the park.
Malinovskiy’s goalscoring exploits were crucial as Genk won their first Belgian First Division title since 2011.
The Ukranian netted 16 times in all competitions last year and already has one under his belt at Atlanta, despite having only started 3 games this season.