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Rumour Mongering: Liverpool Line Up Sterling Replacement

Liverpool have been linked with a move for Andriy Yarmolenko as a potential Raheem Sterling replacement. It seems mostly a case of a tabloid remembering a past-linked player exists.

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

In the world of transfer rumours, everything old soon becomes new again. Like that colour-blocked jacket at the forefront of fashion a year ago that looks an eyesore today, if you just give it a bit time all the old names will be returned to the fore, bringing with them a slight tweak or permutation and the straight-faced insistence that this time around it really is for the long run. That this time around, it’s actually happening.

This spring’s what’s old is new again colour-blocked jacket in the world of Liverpool transfer rumours is Andriy Yarmolenko, Dynamo Kyiv’s 25-year-old goal-scoring winger. He’s been linked to Liverpool before, the direct and driving right-sided counterpart to the technical and creative Yevhen Konoplayanka on the left. And this time around, the tweak is that he’s being lined up to replace Raheem Sterling since Sterling won’t sign a new deal.

The reality, of course, is that even if Sterling doesn’t sign a new deal before the summer, Liverpool are unlikely to sell. With his current contract running through 2017, Sterling is far too important to Liverpool for the club not to hold on to him for another season while continuing to try to reach an agreement. There’s also a more than decent chance that Yarmolnko’s name has just now come up in this context because the Daily Star just now remembered he exists.

That’s because Yarmolenko turned in a man of the match performance last week in a 5-2 demolition of Everton. Player who was linked to Liverpool two years ago turns in a man of the match performance against their local rivals in Europe? And he plays the same position as the player they’re struggling to sign to a new deal? In those circumstances, the shocking thing would have been if Yarmolenko hadn’t been linked with a summer move.

Of course, if there were any truth to it, there are worse players the club could chase than the £20M winger. Yarmolenko started out as a striker and has the build of a traditional number nine—as well as the finishing ability. But he also has the pace of a winger and, early on, was moved wide to capitalise on that and to disguise the sometimes heavy touch that could get him into trouble in the more congested areas of the pitch.

That skill set could made him an exciting target when Liverpool were looking to play the 4-3-3, and if Brendan Rodgers wants to get back to that, there’s no reason he wouldn’t still be an exciting target. In all likelihood, though, his being linked to Liverpool again is as simple and straightforward as it appears: tabloid sees foreign star turn in a top performance; tabloid remembers he was linked to Liverpool before; tabloid links him again.

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