Liverpool's hopes of signing Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk winger Yevhen Konoplyanka have suffered a setback after the player's agent was reported as saying a move is "very unlikely."
Goal.com's Jonathan Birchall tweeted the following quotes:
Konoplyanka's agent: "Deal very unlikely. We have a v.good relationship with the president Kolomoyskyi. He doesn't want to sell...(1/2) #LFC— Jonathan Birchall (@jonbirchall) January 31, 2014
"Yehven and his father respect that." Deal off? "No. Not yet. But it's very unlikely." (2/2) #LFC— Jonathan Birchall (@jonbirchall) January 31, 2014
The 24-year-old has been fiercely linked with a move to Anfield this week as Brendan Rodgers strives to pull off his first signing of the January transfer window.
The Northern Irishman is desperate to strike a deal before the winter window slams shut on Friday evening, but he has always reinforced just how difficult deals are to pull off at this time of the season.
The Liverpool Echo's Peter Guy quotes Rodgers as recently saying:
There is obviously an interest in the player. We will see how the day evolves, the staff who are over there having given us a brilliant chance of getting the player but it is complicated. We will see how it develops.
It would not just be for now but in the future. We are growing the group. I am happy with the group I have. If it doesn't work out then we have shown over course of the season we can fight. It is the only deal we are trying.
Rodgers can be respected, in some regard, for the strategy taken this month. Too many times in recent years have the Merseysiders signed players merely because a deal was there for the taking, only to see their recruits fail to hit expectations.
Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, brought in for a combined £55 million, stand out as two of the more infamous, contemporary examples.
Sky Sports' Vinny O'Connor confirms that if this January is to end with any business being concluded at Anfield, Konoplyanka stands as something of a last hope.
@12Vinny Brendan Rodgers gave the impression Konoplyanka is likely to be only potential signing— Vinny O'Connor (@VinnOConnor) January 31, 2014
Having opened this season in very strong fashion, many expected this winter to be one of restrengthening for the club. Liverpool would build on their first half to the campaign, with the notion of challenging for the Premier League title mooted.
However, those hopes would be damaged were this January to end as an empty one in terms of transfers.
Raheem Sterling and Victor Moses are, at present, the only natural and experienced wingers in the first-team squad, with Philippe Coutinho being relied on too much to fill in on the left, a less natural role for him.
Konoplyanka would go some way to solving that issue, but it seems the deal is far from done.