Liverpool holding talks with Ukraine winger Konoplyanka
Liverpool may make €20m bid for Dnipro player before end of transfer window
FC Dinipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka is reportedly in talks about a move to Liverpool.Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
Liverpool are holding talks with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk over the potential signing of winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.
Sources have said Liverpool are “testing the water” to see if Dnipro are willing to sell now as the 24-year-old winger was initially identified as a target for the summer.
Contrary to reports, Liverpool’s head of recruitment Dave Fallows has not travelled out to Dnipropetrovsk and managing director Ian Ayre is believed to be handling negotiations, although not in Ukraine.
However, with less than two days remaining in the January transfer window it may prove a task too far to push through a deal which would likely cost Liverpool €20 million.
The Reds have been given some hope it remains a possibility after the Ukraine international’s father Oleg said there was a potential deal in the offing.
“I do not want to say specifically but the information about a transfer to the English club is true,” he told Ukrainian media outlet Tribuna.
“He can change club later this week. We do not consider offers from Ukraine.”
Having lost out on long-term target Mohamed Salah after the Egypt international opted for Chelsea, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said he was still keen to make an addition before Friday’s deadline.
There has been growing discontent among fans that no progress was being made to strengthen a squad which is severely depleted by injuries despite being in a battle to secure a top-four finish.
“I think we will hopefully do something over the next couple of days,” said Rodgers after beating Everton 4-0 in Tuesday’s 222nd Merseyside derby to maintain their grip on fourth place in the Premier League.
“Hopefully we can have a major signing before the window shuts and if we can do that we will be set up for the remaining games.”
It was felt Liverpool needed greater reinforcements towards the back end of the team with four defenders – Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique, Mamadou Sakho and Glen Johnson – and defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva all currently out injured.
However, having kept a second successive clean sheet centre back Martin Skrtel believes they are strong enough defensively to cope with injuries.
“We have been working every single day on the training pitch to try to improve our defence,” he said.
“It’s not only about the keeper or the back four, it’s about the whole team defending better. Last night was a big step forward.
“It’s always nice to keep a clean sheet but the most important thing is always to win. I would rather we won 6-4 than drew 0-0.
“With the FA Cup win (against Bournemouth) too that’s two clean sheets in a row and hopefully we can make it three at West Brom on Sunday.
“If we keep performing like that then we can finish in the top four.
“There is a four-point difference between us and Everton now, and there aren’t too many games left to be played before the end of the season.”