With Brendan Rogers public desire to add goals to the Liverpool squad in the upcoming season, speculation has abounded about potential additions. It seems that nearly any winger or attacking midfielder of some renown has been linked to the club. And according to recent rumors, Brendan Rodgers has acquired a Ukrainian Premier League fetish for attackers. Yevhen Konoplyanka, the Dnipro midfielder, has reportedly been garnering some interest from Liverpool scouts.
Konoplyanka established his place in the Dnipro midfield six years ago the age of 17 and has since also found a starting spot on the Ukrainian national team. He has been awarded the Ukrainian Footballer of the Year award twice as well as earning a position on the Europa League team of the year this past season.
Positionally, Konoplyanka plays mostly as a winger for club and country; however, he is also capable as playing as an attacking midfielder. Liverpool are not the only team interested, Manchester United and Arsenal have both been linked with the player in the past. Konoplyanko, who is also known as the Ukrainian Messi, is not an unknown entity Brendan Rodgers is trying to pluck from obscurity. If Liverpool wish to secure his signature, they would likely have to pay somewhere in the range of €13-€15 million.
Dnipro wish to hold onto the Ukrainian playmaker, but at the age of 23 I believe Konoplyanka is at the point in his career where he would like to step up to a bigger stage. Judging from my extensive Youtube scouting, I would say he would most likely fit into the current Liverpool squad as a left winger. He definitely seems to be a creative force from the wing, but I would question his directness and goal producing ability. Below, of course, is a video highlight of Konoplyanka against England (skip to 3:25 if you want to see him take on Gerrard and Johnson).
Евгений КОНОПЛЯНКА в матче АНГЛИЯ-УКРАИНA 1-1 11.09.12 (via fan dnepra)
So what do we think? Would Konoplyanka step right into the first team? Would he effectively impact our goalscoring as much as Rodger's wants? Is he a high enough step above Sterling and Ibe to justify getting significant minutes?