Manchester United and Liverpool are expected to go head-to-head in the transfer market for the signature of Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka, a long-term target for Brendan Rodgers.
As reported by Darren Lewis in the Daily Mirror, Louis van Gaal's arrival at United has prompted their interest in Konoplyanka:
Louis van Gaal is ready to kick off his Manchester United reign by squaring up to arch-rivals Liverpool over £12million Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.
The Anfield giants have been confident of striking a deal for the 24-year-old this summer - despite simmering tensions with his Ukrainian club over their botched attempt at a deal for Konoplyanka on the final day of the January transfer window.
The Ukrainian international just missed out on a move to Anfield back in January after the almost completed deal was blocked by Dnipro owner Ihor Kolomoyskyi.
Liverpool boss Rodgers insisted there was nothing more his club could have done to sign the 24-year-old, but he hinted the Reds would go back in for the player, per Liam Prenderville in the Daily Mirror:
The club did everything possible to get the player in. [...]
I've heard the problem mentioned was about the money but that was not a problem. It just wasn't to be.
I feel really sorry for the player because he was obviously desperate to come but it's gone now and we will review it in the summer.
However, it now seems Liverpool will face stiff competition from their oldest rivals if they want to sign the dynamic Konoplyanka.
It is no surprise he is in such high demand as he offers pace and width on the left flank as well as an ability to stretch the game and torment full-backs.
He is also a proven goalscorer with four goals from seven games for Dnipro in the Europa League this season, per Squawka.com.
Liverpool were most certainly front-runners to snap up Konoplyanka until recently, with beIN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri predicting the move last month:
The fact that the Reds are going to be in the Champions League next season, while United will not, may still give Liverpool the edge if it does come down to a transfer war.
However, the Red Devils will likely push very hard for his signature as they look to rebuild their team. Pace and width on the flanks have been a hallmark of their successes in recent years and Konoplyanka seems to fit the bill well.
But Liverpool desperately need to bring in greater strength in depth as they will be battling on multiple fronts next season, so they will not give up without a fight.