Thursday, 30 January 2014

Rodgers racing to sign £20m Ukraine winger Konoplyanka as Liverpool boss looks to boost squad for Euro push


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Brendan Rodgers is closing in on the winger he believes he needs to challenge for a Champions League spot after Anfield’s top transfer negotiator flew to Ukraine to try to land Yevhen Konoplyanka for £20million.

After missing out on Mohamed Salah to Chelsea, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre was in talks on Wednesday night with Dnipro officials and the versatile Ukraine midfielder in the hope of securing his signature before Friday night’s transfer deadline. 

There were, however, also reports on Wednesday night that Tottenham were poised to make an 11th-hour bid for Konoplyanka, though their attempts to scupper Liverpool's move may have come too late, with the Merseysiders understood to be well advanced in their swoop for the 24-year-old.
Kop target: Ukraine international Yevhen Konoplyanka (centre) is wanted by Liverpool
Kop target: Ukraine international Yevhen Konoplyanka (centre) is wanted by Liverpool
Konoplyanka - who played in both Ukraine's World Cup qualifiers against England, scoring in the 1-1 draw at Wembley in September 2012 - is highly-regarded and can operate effectively on the flanks or through the middle.

The player's father Oleg confirmed Liverpool's interest to Ukrainian media outlet Tribuna, saying: 'I do not want to say specifically but the information about a transfer to the English club is true. He can change clubs later this week. We do not consider offers from Ukraine.'

Liverpool's head of recruitment Dave Fallows is also understood to have flown out to Ukraine for discussions on the deal. 

Rodgers may have been slightly frustrated to miss out on Salah but he has promised to keep working until the last minute to boost his squad before the window closes on Friday and after Tuesday's 4-0 demolition of Everton, Liverpool's manager claimed he was 'very hopeful' of getting a major deal across the line.
Familiar face: Konoplyanka scored against England in a World Cup qualifying draw at Wembley in 2012
Familiar face: Konoplyanka scored against England in a World Cup qualifying draw at Wembley in 2012
‘Hopefully we can have a major signing before the window shuts and if we can do that we will be set up for the remaining games,’ he said. ‘But I have to say the headlines about the manager being angry with the club couldn’t be further from the truth.

'I've said from day one the owners have been brilliant we're just not always going to get the players in that we want. The people here are important and we're in it together. Hopefully we can do something before the window.'

Rodgers has been desperate to make a standout signing during the last six months. 
He first attempted to land Henrikh Mykhitaryan but was beaten to the punch by last season's Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund. 

He then pursued Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa, missed out to Chelsea for Willian and was again gazumped by Chelsea for Salah. 

Konoplyanka, however, fits the profile of player Liverpool are looking to sign. 

If they were able to complete a deal for a player who has represented his country 35 times before this window closes, it would represent something of a coup.
DailyMail

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