Friday 23 March 2018

Liverpool's bid to sign Konoplyanka goes down to wire

FC Dinipro midfielder Yevhen Konoplyanka
FC Dinipro midfielder Yevhen Konoplyanka

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool's efforts to secure a deal for Ukrainian Yevhen Konoplyanka dragged into the final throes of deadline day.

Managing director Ian Ayre spent a third day in negotiations with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

Talks went on until 4am on Thursday, continuing throughout yesterday as Dnipro multibillionaire president Ihor Kolomoyskyi tried to convince the international to remain at his club.

Liverpool thought they made a breakthrough with a deal worth £12m – significantly less than earlier presumed – but manager Brendan Rodgers admitted to "complications" in finalising the transfer.

A plan to fly the 24-year-old to England for a medical was aborted, Liverpool instead trying to arrange for assessments in Ukraine.

"We are still in the middle of building here and growing the group and I feel we need a number of players," said Rodgers. "January is a very difficult market to do that but I'm very happy with the group that I have.

"Every manager would like more players to freshen up – it always helps and gives that extra motivation for players. It is about options, it is about having depth and quality."

Liverpool turned to Ukraine after deciding Egyptian Mohamed Salah was overpriced at £15m.

Liverpool take on West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns tomorrow seeking to build on their impressive Merseyside derby victory.

England assistant Ray Lewington saw Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling impress, with Rodgers believing both will be firmly in the frame for a World Cup call-up.

"Raheem Sterling has barely had a mention for the performance the other night," said Rodgers. "He's been outstanding in the last number of games. He was so dangerous and for a young player, just turned 19, his tactical awareness of the game was very good.

"As for Jordan, I'm sure Ray is looking at him and thinking he is a player who is improving every time he sees him. Jordan is an outstanding talent and is getting better. (© Daily Telegraph, London)



Irish Independent

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