Yesterday Liverpool were linked with Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka in deal worth £16 million. With only one day left in the transfer window, the deal is supposedly so far advanced that chief executive Ian Ayre has flown to Ukraine to finalise the deal.
However, as usual with any Liverpool transfer target, they have a fixed valuation on the player and it is said to be halting the proceedings. Consequentially, for the umpteenth time Tottenham Hotspur are rumoured by the Daily Telegraph to be waiting in the wings to hijack the deal.
Within the past year Tottenham have three times usurped Liverpool in the transfer market as Liverpool were dithering over the amount they wanted to pay. The first Liverpool target this happened to was Sigurdsson, the second was Clint Dempsey, and the third was Willian, although Chelsea later gazumped Tottenham. Incidentally, it was Chelsea who waded in to sign Mohamed Salah from Liverpool's clutches and henceforth forced Liverpool to switch targets to Konoplyanka.
Therefore, given the large sums of money Tottenham still posses from the Gareth Bale deal and the fact Liverpool have been found wanting in the transfer window three times by Tottenham, there is every fear Tottenham could steal Konoplyanka from under their feet.
Fortunately for Liverpool fans, there are three factors that sway this deal heavily in their favour (as long as no other club gets involved):
1) Tottenham spent a lot of money on wingers in the summer transfer window and have yet to sell any of them.
2) Tim Sherwood's short term contract suggests he has yet to earn the trust of Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and as such he is likely to be backed extensively.
3) With Konoplyanka's contract running out in 2015, Dnipro (his club) are not in the position to dictate transfer fees. Taking into consideration the first two factors, Tottenham are only involved now so they can exert pressure and make a move in the summer when it suits. However, as Liverpool are ahead in the race for the Champions League and Dnipro not being in a position to haggle the fee, for once Liverpool's frugality comes in handy.
What about Konoplyanka?
Konoplyanka is a versatile left winger who can play behind the striker or on the right wing and although being capable with his left, predominantly uses his right foot. Despite standing at the small figure of 5ft 9in, he has brilliant balance which is owed to his black belt in karate. He also possess searing pace and a thunderous shot from distance. In terms of a comparison, think Frank Ribery.
He has also been called the best Ukrainian player since AC Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko by international broadcaster John Bradley, who covers the Ukrainian League.