Liverpool reportedly face losing out on yet another transfer target, with Tottenham believed to have joined the race to sign Ukrainian winger Yevhen Konoplyanka. The Reds moved for the Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk man after being beaten to the signing of Mohamed Salah by Chelsea. That disappointment continued a worrying trend for Liverpool, who also pursued Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Willian in the summer only to see them join Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea, respectively.
According to Sky Sports, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has been in Ukraine this week to try and conclude a deal for Konoplyanka. Yet, Tottenham’s interest now promises to complicate matters in the closing stages of the transfer window. Still, lying three points clear of Spurs in the race for a Champions League spot and appearing to have more stability than the club from north London, Liverpool will remain hopeful of luring the 24-year-old to Merseyside.
The Daily Mirror has a slightly different take, believing that Tottenham are no longer pursuing the player, but that an unnamed Bundesliga side are in the hunt. It is said that Liverpool have increased their offer to £16 million to try and get the transfer over the line.
Konoplyanka operates from the left side of midfield, often cutting in on his favored right foot to either look to create or shoot himself, as he did in stunning fashion in Ukraine’s World Cup qualifier with England at Wembley in September, 2012. He would certainly fulfill the description of a “major signing” that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said earlier this week he was hopeful of procuring before Friday’s transfer deadline.
After missing out on Salah, links resurfaced suggesting that Liverpool had reignited their interest in bringing winger Tom Ince back to the club. Ince, who left Anfield in the summer of 2011, was believed to be close to rejoining last summer and is set to move on loan in January, with a view to leaving Blackpool when his contract expires in the summer. However, according to various reports on Thursday it appears that Crystal Palace are close to completing a deal for the England Under-21 international.
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Another alternative has been put forward by Talksport, which believes that Liverpool may seek to make a fresh approach for Barcelona wide man Isaac Cuenca. The 22-year-old has also been linked with Arsenal in the past. Yet, having just returned to training after being plagued by knee injuries for more than 18 months, it would be something of a risk to take him on anything other than a loan deal.
Meanwhile, there has also been much speculation that Rodgers will look to recruit cover for the injured Lucas Leiva. The Brazilian midfielder is set to miss up to two months with a knee injury. Milan’s Nigel de Jong has been suggested as a short-term solution, and Lucas would be on board with the Dutchman’s arrival.
“If he comes it will be good for the squad because it's important to have a strong squad,” he said, according to Sky Sports. "I believe that if anyone comes who plays in my position it will not be because of my injury but rather to strengthen the squad."
Regardless, it is a deal that is unlikely to go through. It has been reported that Rodgers has no interest in De Jong and certainly the midfield enforcer would not fit logically into the Liverpool coach’s passing philosophy.