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Liverpool get a clear run at transfer target

ESPN staff
January 31, 2014
Liverpool march on

Liverpool's chances of making a significant transfer window signing have finally taking a positive turn.

Tottenham had emerged as rivals for their key target, Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, but appear now to have dropped out of the running after turning their attention to Dimitar Berbatov.

They were poised to meet the £15 million asking price for the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk player on deadline day but may still have to haggle over the 24-year-old's wages, according to the Daily Mail.

Suitability for Premier League questioned

  • Former Ukraine and Arsenal defender Oleg Luzhny doubts that Yevhen Konoplyanka will make an immediate impact in the Premier League.
  • "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."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has been pressing for reinforcements to compensate for injuries and bolster his team's chances of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

He was left frustrated when Liverpool were beaten to the signing of Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah by Chelsea and hinted he may have to rely on the club's youngsters.

But after admitting he hoped to make a "major signing" before the transfer window closes on Friday night, the prospect of him missing out again was raised.

Tottenham are looking for another forward with the imminent departure of Jermain Defoe to Toronto looming and chairman Daniel Levy has been scouring the market.

Konoplyanka has only a year left on his contract with Dnipro, putting Liverpool in a strong position over the transfer fee but weakening their hand in wage negotiations.

The player's father, Oleg, appeared to confirm that talks were going well with Liverpool on Wednesday after Ian Ayre, the Liverpool managing director, travelled to Ukraine to try to finalise the deal.

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