Monthly Archives: January 2014

Liverpool bid for Konoplyanka on verge of collapse

The Ukraine midfielder is keen on a move to Anfield but the Reds are struggling to agree a fee and his agent has admitted a move is “very unlikely”

By Jonathan Birchall

Liverpool’s deadline day move for Yevhen Konoplyanka is on the brink of collapse after the player’s agent admitted a deal is “very unlikely”, Goal can reveal.

The Reds opened negotiations after Ian Ayre flew out to Ukraine earlier this week but are struggling to agree a fee for the 24-year-old winger before Friday’s 11pm deadline. 

As revealed by Goal, the left-sided attacker has set his heart on a move to Liverpool after Tottenham pulled out of a deal, but Dnipro are keen to secure a sale for as close to their £20m valuation as possible.

But Oliver Cabrera, who owns OML Sports & Marketing, the company Konoplyanka is signed to, told Goal: “We have a very good relationship with the president [Ihor] Kolomoyskyi and he doesn’t want to sell the player.”

“Yehven and his father respect that so a move is very unlikely.”

Cabrera is one of the main parties negotiating the deal from his base in Stockholm, and did insist that the proposed transfer has not collapsed completely.

Liverpool are desperate to force the move through after being gazumped by Chelsea in their atempts to sign Mohamed Salah from Basel.

Tottenham pulled out of the race to sign Konoplyanka after Tim Sherwood had concerns over how well the Ukraine international would adapt to the Premier League

“There’s obviously an interest in the player but there’s no update,” Brendan Rodgers said at his Friday press conference.

“The staff over there have done brilliant work with regards to trying to get the player.

“But we need to see how that develops over the course of the day. It’s all happened so quickly and the deadline is tight.

“We’ve had a list with a number of players on it, so we’ll see how it develops later.”

Dnipro dig heels in over Liverpool bid for Konoplyanka

The Ukraine midfielder is keen on a move to Anfield but the Reds are struggling to agree a fee with his side as Friday evening’s deadline approaches

By Jonathan Birchall

Liverpool’s attempts to sign Yehven Konoplyanka are ongoing as the club struggles to reach a deal with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

The Reds opened negotiations after Ian Ayre flew out to Ukraine on Thursday but are struggling to agree a fee for the 24-year-old winger before Friday’s 11pm deadline. 

As revealed by Goal, the left-sided attacker has set his heart on a move to Liverpool after Tottenham pulled out of a deal, but Dnipro are keen to secure a sale for as close to their £20m valuation as possible.

“We are still working but the problems aren’t coming from the player,” Konoplyanka’s agent Oliver Cabrera told Goal on Friday. “The club don’t want to sell him at the moment.

“We aren’t sure about whether we will find a solution but we are working.”

Liverpool are desperate to force the move through after being gazumped by Chelsea in their atempts to sign Mohamed Salah from Basel earlier this week.

Tottenham pulled out of the race to sign Konoplyanka after Tim Sherwood had concerns over how well the Ukraine international would adapt to the Premier League

“I think we will hopefully do something over the next couple of days,” said Rodgers earlier this week.

“Hopefully we can have a major signing before the window shuts and if we can do that we will be set up for the remaining games.”

Gerrard confident of adjusting to new Liverpool role

The captain believes he can play in a number of different positions but admits the deep-lying midfield approach is a change from his usual box-to-box style of play

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is confident of making a success of the new defensive midfield role assigned to him by manager Brendan Rodgers.

The England skipper took up the new position in the league games against Stoke and Aston Villa and although the Reds collected four points, they also conceded five goals.

Gerrard then impressed in the 4-0 thrashing of Everton, however, and despite having played in a more attacking role for much of his career, insists he is capable of contributing from a deeper position.

“Previously, I’ve been trying to get from box to box,” he told the club’s official website. “But the new role is more about control and organising the people in front of me.

“It’s a different position to the one that I’ve played for the last 12 or 15 years. I know that with time and work on the training pitch, I can get it right because I believe I can play in a number of positions.”

The 33-year-old expressed his delight at the nature of the Reds’ Merseyside derby victory over Everton and believes Roberto Martinez’s team were lucky to escape having conceded only four goals.

“I’ve got to be honest; I thought it was going to be a really cagey affair,” he admitted. “I thought maybe one goal either way would have decided it. But the way we played, I thought it could have been even more.”

Fantasy Football: Gameweek 24 – who should you pick this week?

Goal takes a look at the best players to select or avoid, the bargain buys and the top choice for captain’s double points ahead of the weekend’s Premier League action

START ‘EM – WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU PICK?

With Yohan Cabaye having left Newcastle for Paris Saint-Germain, Hatem Ben Arfa (6.5) will be asked to play a much larger role at St. James’ Park. Prior to Tuesday’s draw against Norwich City, the Frenchman had only started one of the Toon’s last 13 league games (though he created two assists in that match). Against the Canaries, he set-up three chances and had five shots – only Loic Remy had more.

Back to full fitness and back among the goals, Christian Benteke (8.0) is quickly becoming a must-have purchase once again. Not content with netting in back-to-back games against Arsenal and Liverpool, the Belgian scored and assisted in the Villans’ 4-3 win over West Brom on Wednesday night. The towering forward has re-found his mojo and looks primed to terrorise defences until the end of the season.

Arsenal’s midfielders are dropping like flies and a normally favourable home fixture against Crystal Palace has proven to be a head-scratcher as far as Fantasy Football goes. As much by default as anything else, Santi Cazorla (9.5) gets our nod. Unlike a certain disappointing German playmaker, the Spaniard has been in good form, netting four goals in his last three appearances in all competitons.

With Samir Nasri sidelined, impact substitute Jesus Navas (8.0) has found a more regular role in the starting XI. The Spaniard is Manchester City’s leading assister, and they return to the home ground where they have been so dominant on Monday. Chelsea will prove a stern test, but if Jose Mourinho is keen to distance himself from the hypocritical connotations of his “19th century” quip, then a more open Blues side could be ripped apart.

SIT ‘EM – WHICH PLAYERS SHOULD YOU AVOID?

After shipping four goals against Aston Villa, the last thing Diego Lugano (4.5) and West Brom will want to see is Liverpool and their deadly SAS attack. The cumbersome Uruguayan gave away a penalty and was at fault for all of the Villans’ goals, and his lack of mobility will surely be exposed against Brendan Rodgers’ dynamic, pacey side – that’s assuming he even starts after such a horror show.

In the last gameweek, Sergio Aguero (10.5) was our pick for captain, but this week he should be avoided – that’s the cruel and unpredictable life of a footballer for you. The Argentina international could have had a first-half hat-trick against Tottenham, but a hamstring injury suffered at White Hart Lane will rule him out for the foreseeable future.

With his midfield partner in crime swapping Tyneside for the French capital, and with star striker Loic Remy suspended, poor Cheick Tiote (5.0) will be the player Newcastle look to in Saturday’s Tyne-Wear derby. The fixture, though, has a history of dismissals, and with the Ivorian set to clash with opposite number and fellow midfield clatterer Lee Cattermole, Tiote looks a good bet to be having an early bath when the final whistle is blown.

Chelsea and Gary Cahill (5.5) have performed admirably of late, conceding just twice in their last seven matches. A surprise goalless draw against West Ham, however, could see Mourinho ask for more attacking gumption from his side, and now might be the worst possible time to show more adventure as the west Londoners travel to the Etihad Stadium. Man City have averaged 3.8 goals at home and even then league leaders Arsenal conceded six times. That Blues backline is best avoided.

Flying winger Jason Puncheon (5.0) has put his horror penalty against Tottenham behind him to score in three of his last four Premier League outings, winning seven points for a Crystal Palace side that has rallied around an unlikely talisman. A trip to the Emirates will hold no fear for a player that will relish space on the break, and his spirits could be lifted by a reported permanent move to Selhurst Park.

A serious-looking injury to Romelu Lukaku opens the door for Kevin Mirallas (7.0) to shine. The Belgian could be deployed through the middle against Aston Villa and, in the midst of a hot streak that has seen him net three times in his last four matches, looks a good bet to get on the scoresheet.

Chelsea had 39 shots against West Ham on Wednesday night, yet still they could not breach Adrian (3.5) and the West Ham defence. The Spanish shot-stopper has been heroic for the Hammers, even though he’s been on the end of a few routs, and the return to fitness of several first-choice defenders coupled with the visit of an out-of-form Swansea side gives the goalkeeper the chance to add to his two clean sheets.

Everton’s somewhat makeshift backline didn’t cover themselves in glory in the Merseyside derby, but a return to Goodison Park and the visit of Aston Villa should make for happier times. The Toffees’ defence has generally been reliable (only Arsenal and West Ham have recorded more clean sheets), and John Stones (3.5), filling in for the injured Seamus Coleman, offers a cheap route into one of the most formidable backlines in England.

CAPTAIN’S CHOICE – TOP TIP FOR DOUBLE POINTS

The Premier’s League’s top scorer, Luis Suarez (10.0), shows no signs of letting up. Not even at his scintillating best against Everton, the Uruguay international still picked up a goal and an assist to bring his figures for the season to 23 goals and six assists – that is one every 55 minutes. He is simply unstoppable right now.

A trip to West Brom looks particularly appetising for the former Ajax frontman. The Baggies have one of the worst defences in the league, conceding four times in their last outing as they were systematically ripped apart by Villa, and Suarez himself bagged a hat-trick in the reverse fixture. Ignore him at your peril.

Sign up to Goal’s Premier League Fantasy Football competition for the chance to win monthly prizes. It is simple and fast to register and pick your team, so you can start competing against friends or colleagues for the ultimate bragging rights!

Konoplyanka set for Liverpool as Tottenham pull out of talks

Spurs looked to be in a position to hijack the Reds’ deal for the highly-rated Ukraine international, but have pulled the plug after coach Tim Sherwood expressed doubts

EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Liverpool look set to beat Tottenham in the race to sign £16 million (€19.5m) forward Yevhen Konoplyanka before the transfer window deadline on Friday.

The Reds are understood to have made a more attractive financial offer to both Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and the player, as Brendan Rodgers looks to boost his side’s hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre reportedly flew out to Ukraine on Wednesday to push through the deal – and the Merseysiders’ are now close to landing their man.

The Anfield outfit are desperate to force the move through after being gazumped by Chelsea in their atempts to sign Mohamed Salah from Basel.

The pacey 24-year-old plays on the left side of attack and is also highly rated by Tottenham technical director Franco Baldini.

However, while Spurs coach Tim Sherwood admires Konoplyanka, he has concerns about how the player would adapt to the Premier League and he would prefer to wait until the summer to land other targets.

Tottenham are notoriously unpredictable in the latter stages of the transfer window, but senior sources at the club do not expect to sign Konoplyanka, with former White Hart Lane favourite Dimitar Berbatov the most likely arrival before Friday’s deadline.  

Konoplyanka is eager to move to England and has been tracked by a number of Premier League clubs, including Manchester United, since his impressive displays at Euro 2012.

Rodgers wants to improve his squad and will be anxious to push the Konoplyanka deal over the line on Friday.

“I think we will hopefully do something over the next couple of days,” the Liverpool boss said earlier this week.

“Hopefully, we can have a major signing before the window shuts and if we can do that we will be set up for the remaining games.”

Tottenham eye late move for Liverpool target Konoplyanka

The Reds are hoping to push through a deal for the highly-rated Ukraine international after missing out on Mohamed Salah, but Spurs are interested and ready to make their move

By Greg Stobart

Tottenham have shown a late interest in hijacking Liverpool’s €19.4 million move for Ukrainian forward Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Spurs have made contact with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and the player’s representatives in recent days and are ready to make a move before the transfer window closes on Friday.

The pacey 24-year-old plays on the left side of attack and is highly rated by Tottenham technical director Franco Baldini.

But the Londoners will have to make their move for Konoplyanka quickly as he is Liverpool’s top target for the remainder of the transfer window as the Reds also look to boost their Champions League ambitions.

Liverpool are attempting to force through the move in good time after being gazumped by Chelsea in their atempts to sign Mohamed Salah from Basel, much to the frustration of manager Brendan Rodgers.

Konoplyanka is eager to move to England and has been tracked by a number of Premier League clubs including Manchester United since his impressive displays at Euro 2012.

Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood was coy on Wednesday night when asked about Konoplyanka following his side’s 5-1 defeat to Manchester City – and played down the club’s chances of landing the Ukrainian.

“Yeah he plays off the left,” said Sherwood. “I know him but nothing looks like happening. We’d have to do it now because we’ve only got two days left.

“I don’t see it happening but that’s why we’ve got people working with us.

“The chairman here is always asking me if there’s anyone we need but I need to make sure they are of the quality we need and not just a body for the sake of it.

“It’s very difficult to change clubs and settle. I would be very cautious if we did anything.”