Reds face battle for Konoplyanka - agent
Liverpool face rival interest from another Premier League club for Ukraine international Yevhen Konoplyanka, according to the player’s agent, amid reports of interest from Arsenal and Tottenham.
• Yokhin: The Ukrainian Robben
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, having lost out on Mohamed Salah to Chelsea, has confirmed his side remain intent on making a “major signing” this month and sources have confirmed to ESPN FC that they are in talks with Ukrainian Premier League club Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk to sign Konoplyanka.
The player’s father, Oleg, had also said the winger could join an English club this week, telling Espreso TV: “I don’t want to talk too specifically, but the reports about a transfer to England -- they are true. He might change clubs later this week. We are not considering offers from within the Ukraine.”
However, the player’s agent has now told Gazeta.ua that Konoplyanka could be bound for an alternative destination, saying: “When writing about the interest from Liverpool, these people only know part of the truth.
“Yesterday, I had a long and productive conversation with the chairman of another English club. The chances of Yevhen moving to England soon are very high. His club might be Liverpool or another English club.”
Asked if the other team is Arsenal, the agent added: “I will not mention the name of the club. In the near future, you will hear it.”
Tottenham have also been linked with a move for the player, but head coach Tim Sherwood played down talk of a switch on Wednesday night.
“Yeah, he plays off the left,” the Spurs boss told the media when asked about Konoplyanka. “I know him but nothing looks like happening. We’d have to do it now because we’ve only got two days left.
“I don’t see it happening but that’s why we’ve got people working with us. The chairman here is always asking me if there’s anyone we need but I need to make sure they are of the quality we need and not just a body for the sake of it. It’s very difficult to change clubs and settle. I would be very cautious if we did anything.”
Meanwhile, former Ukraine and Arsenal defender Oleg Luzhny does not believe Konoplyanka is suited to Premier League football.
“I don’t think the English league is right for him,” he is quoted as telling the Ukrainian media. “Konoplyanka’s style of play is better suited to Italy or Spain. The game in England is totally different. It’s about power -- you have to run back and forth, back and forth. You run at speed up and down, and it’s like that for 90 minutes.
“I saw how he played in the [World Cup qualification playoff] second leg against France, when Ukraine lost 3-0, and he was like a headless chicken.
“It is a completely different level. When you play in the Ukraine, you can afford not to run. In the match against France, it was evident that Konoplyanka barely runs at all. Konoplyanka is a good player, but he is suited to Spain or Italy, not England.”