He’s not been out of the limelight much since his January transfer deadline day move to Liverpool collapsed at the 11th hour, but Yevhen Konoplyanka looks set for a move to Merseyside this summer, if the papers are to be believed.
The Ukrainian winger’s agent “fuelled speculation that Liverpool have renewed their interest in the Ukrainian winger” by dropping a cryptic tweet, according to David Kent of the Daily Mail.
En route to Liverpool..— James Lippett (@JamLipp78) April 3, 2014
Indeed, a summer move for the highly rated 24-year-old could well be a shrewd move by Liverpool, but it’s hard not feel they dodged something back January.
Hindsight is a Wonderful Thing
The fallout from Liverpool’s lack of spending in January was quite dramatic. It divided opinion between fans, and fingers started to be pointed as to who was responsible for the Reds’ apparent incapability in the transfer market.
An anxious Liverpool legend John Aldridge questioned whether the saga would cost Brendan Rodgers and his side a top-four finish and place in the Champions League, as per his column in the Liverpool Echo:
I'm worried that Liverpool’s lack of transfer activity will return to haunt us come May. We had a great opportunity to strengthen the squad during the January window but we failed to take it and I find that crazy.
Fast forward to April 2014 and a Konoplyanka-less Liverpool have earned their right to be top of the Premier League with six games to go. Furthermore, this run of eight wins has brought about the biggest belief amongst supporters since 1990. It has changed the club.
We’ll never know, but signing Konoplyanka back in January could well have hindered Liverpool’s season.
It certainly would have restricted the game time for either or both of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, who have made invaluable contributions to the Liverpool success story of late.
Would allowing settling-in time for an expensive acquisition halfway through the season have benefited Liverpool? Would they be even further clear than the two points they find themselves in going into Sunday’s trip to West Ham? It would be hard to formulate a yes argument to both these questions.
Whether missing out on signing Konoplyanka in January was a blessing in disguise or not, he would certainly make a canny signing in the summer.
Title or no title, Rodgers needs to reshuffle his squad into a new era as they look to challenge for both the Premier League and Champions League—an attack on two fronts.
The only way to realistically begin competing with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich is to build a deep squad, full of talented players who work with each other, not against each other in healthy competition.
Konoplyanka’s pace and wizardry would no doubt provide Rodgers’ side with width, and a fresh, versatile option with the multitude of games in the inevitable busy fixture schedule that awaits this autumn.
Tactician Jonathan Wilson wrote on Bleacher Report back in January:
Konoplyanka also gives the option of attacking the full-back on the outside. He is quick and dynamic, and rather more disciplined thanCoutinho if it comes to closing down an attacking full-back. The more options Liverpool have, of course, the less danger there is that they become predictable.
If Konoplyanka is indeed on his way to Liverpool, he will make a very welcome addition to a squad growing in quality.