Liverpool’s attempts to sign Ukraine international Yevhen Konoplyanka look set to go right to the wire on transfer deadline day. Brendan Rodgers has confirmed that Liverpool have representatives in Ukraine, believed to include managing director Ian Ayre, trying to tie up a deal with Dnipro, yet had no new information on an agreement being imminent when speaking at a press conference on Friday.
“There's obviously an interest in the player but there's no update,” he said. "We'll see how it evolves. It is obviously a little complicated but the staff that are over there have done brilliant work in terms of giving us every chance to get a player.
"But we need to see how that develops over the course of the day. I just think it's all happened so quickly and the timeline on everything makes it tight. We've had a list with a number of players on it, so we'll see how it all develops.”
It appeared there was a willingness for all parties to make a deal happen, with this likely to be the last chance for Dnipro to get full value for a player who has 18 months remaining on his contract. However, latest reports, including from Russian journalist Artur Petrosyan, suggest that Dnipro are now having second thoughts about cashing in. What does appear clear is that Konoplyanka is keen on making the move to Anfield.
“I’m excited about it and soon everyone will know where I will play,” he said, according to the Daily Star, when asked of Liverpool’s interest. “Is it very serious with Liverpool? I am shocked myself at how serious it is. I think in the near future everything will become clear.”
While time appears to be the biggest obstacle to getting a deal done before Friday’s 11 p.m. GMT deadline, Liverpool will also doubtless fear watching yet another transfer target be stolen away by a rival club. Already having lost out on Mohamed Salah to Chelsea in January, it has been widely reported that Tottenham have an interest in Konoplyanka.
Konoplyanka is certainly the main focus of Liverpool’s attention on deadline day, yet there have been reports that they also made an approach for Micah Richards. According to the Daily Mail, the Reds made a bid to take the one-time England international on loan from Manchester City, but the Premier League leaders turned them down flat.
The interest makes sense, with Liverpool currently weakened defensively by injuries to Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger, Mamadou Sakho and Jose Enrique. Richards, who has been plagued by injuries himself in recent years and has started just two Premier League matches this season, can play at right-back or center-back.
It remains to be seen whether Liverpool have either the incentive or the time to attempt to bring in an alternative defensive target.