Tottenham have jumped ahead of Liverpool in the race to sign highly rated Ukrainian forward Yevhen Konoplyanka.
Darren Lewis of The Mirror writes that the player's club president, Ihor Kolomoyskyi, is in negotiations with Daniel Levy of Spurs and that the two clubs are close to an agreement on a transfer.
Lewis quotes the Dnipro president saying:
I’m talking with Tottenham president. He wants Konoplyanka. We’re negotiating and may even be close to signing a contract.
Liverpool was just some representatives talking on the phone. Talks with Spurs is entirely on another level.
I do not want to criticize the 'Liverpool,' but if I was interested in football players, I would have done it a week or two before.
If Spurs want Konoplyanka, I’d happily sell. London life is better than Liverpool. Spurs’ interest is strong and advanced.
The Anfield club tried to sign Konoplyanka in the January transfer window but failed on deadline day. He displayed his pedigree in this season's Europa League, netting four times in seven games for Dnipro.
Reds legend Jamie Carragher previously spoke of Liverpool's attempt to sign the player at the end of January:
Konoplyanka is an exciting prospect, but it is unlikely that Brendan Rodgers will be too disappointed in missing out on the 24-year-old.
The form of Raheem Sterling has been encouraging this season, and the capture of Konoplyanka in January would definitely have stunted his progress and game time. One only has to look at Liverpool's last two away games at Southampton and Manchester United to see that Sterling and Philippe Coutinho are already competing for a place in the starting XI.
Sterling has six goals from his 24 Premier League performances, per Squawka, and he looks a good bet to feature for England at this summer's World Cup.
As good as Konoplyanka might potentially be, Rodgers will feel settled with Sterling at his disposal and can now strengthen in other positions that need his attention.
Tottenham still need to find a viable replacement for Gareth Bale, and the Dnipro forward could be the answer to their problems.
The players brought in last summer have underperformed despite Spurs' current Premier League position, and Levy will have to go back to the drawing board for a fresh assault on the top four next season.