Liverpool chief Ian Ayre spent three days in Ukraine on a wild goose chase as he futilely attempted to thrash out a deal for Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka before the January deadline.
After losing out on Mohamed Salah to Chelsea, the Ukraine international, who netted a sensational strike against England at Wembley in September 2012, was lined up as a direct alternative to the £11million Blues signing.
The 24 year-old has claimed 25 goals in 125 appearances for Juande Ramos’s side, but is better known for his creative influence and ability to take up a variety of roles in the final third. He’s claimed three of the last four Ukrainian Player of the Year awards, with his monopoly on the accolade only broken up by Andriy Voronin in 2011.
The Reds were widely reported to have tabled a £15million bid, but as the Konoplyanka camp were quoted in describing the deal as ‘unbelievably complicated’, it fell through in the final hours of deadline day.
However, with Liverpool still frantic to land the first marquee signing of the Brendan Rodgers era and in desperate need of some established quality on the flanks, the Anfield side are widely expected to reignite the planned £15million transfer in the summer, providing divisional rivals Tottenham don’t beat them to the Ukraine wideman.
Dnipro chief Andriy Rusol has claimed today that “I’m 1000% sure that Liverpool will attempt to buy Yevhen again in the summer. And, after this experience, the dealings will be more organised, and more likely to succeed,” suggesting a summer deal for Konoplyanka is incredibly likely.