Liverpool £12m bid to sign Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka ends in farce
Liverpool’s pursuit of Ukrainian Yevhen Konoplyanka ended in deadline-day despair after three days of negotiations in Eastern Europe.
Their efforts to secure a deal for the winger dragged into the final throes of the transfer window, but despite frantic attempts to secure terms, and the player being keen on a move, there was no agreement.
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre spent three days in Ukraine negotiating with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Talks went on until 4am on Thursday, continuing throughout Friday and beyond the 11pm deadline as Dnipro multi-billionaire president Ihor Kolomoyskyi pulled the plug.
Liverpool hoped they could still process a deal in time to meet a later Fifa deadline for international transfers, but it was to no avail. Earlier they thought they made a breakthrough with a deal worth £12 million, significantly less than earlier presumed, but Brendan Rodgers admitted “complications” finalising the transfer.
A plan to fly the 24-year-old to England for a medical was aborted, Liverpool making alternative arrangements in the Ukraine. While Liverpool desperately looked to conclude the transfer, Manchester City abandoned a £50 million bid for Porto duo Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando.
Manuel Pellegrini, who confirmed that leading scorer Sergio Agüero will miss next month’s Champions League clash with Barcelona with a hamstring injury, had been hopeful of securing Mangala and Fernando following efforts by director of football Txiki Begiristain to drive through the double transfer during the last two days. But despite being encouraged that a deal could be struck with Porto for the duo, City will now renew interest in Mangala at the end of the season after refusing to meet the Portuguese club’s asking price.
Although City could now pursue alternatives to Fernando, whose Porto contract expires in the summer, it is understood that Mangala will remain a priority target.
Arsène Wenger moved to strengthen Arsenal’s title push by sealing the loan signing of Spartak Moscow midfielder Kim Kallstrom until the end of the season. The 31-year-old has made 108 international appearances for Sweden and played more than 400 club matches during spells in his homeland, France and Russia.
Wenger’s move came shortly after they dropped their interest in German winger Julian Draxler, and he said he was delighted to have got his man. Wenger said: “Kim is a hugely experienced player. He is a midfielder with proven quality at both club and international level.”
Leaving the Gunners was midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, who joined Championship side Barnsley in a permanent deal.