Yevhen Konoplyanka opens up on his failed move to Liverpool in 2014
Ukrainian star Yevhen Konoplyanka was close to joining Liverpool back in the winter window of 2014, but a move failed to materialise as the Reds couldn’t come to an agreement with Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
The Ukrainian club’s president played hardball, and eventually, the 32-year-old joined Sevilla. Having been named Footballer of the Year thrice in Ukraine, Konoplyanka caught the eye of the Merseysiders who were then mounting an unlikely title charge under Brendan Rodgers.
“I was crying. A delegation of serious people from Liverpool came to Dnipropetrovsk. We ate dinner. They were (willing) to pay as much as (Dnipro owner) Ihor Kolomoyskyi wanted.”
The winger was second in line after Liverpool failed to sign Mohamed Salah from FC Basel. But Dnipro wanted more than the Merseysiders were willing to pay. In the end, the move fell through.
The 32-year-old eventually ended up singing for Sevilla for the 2015/16 season. The Spanish side came up against the Reds in the Europa League final in that campaign. We lost by three goals to one on the night against the Andalusians.
Konoplyanka was all but ready to move to Liverpool when we came knocking. But fate had other plans as the Ukrainians asked for a bit too much. Players in the Liverpool squad were already welcoming him to the club.
“Martin Skrtel wrote me a message; ‘We are waiting for you’. Steven Gerrard also gave me his blessing. I used to go to Kolomoyskyi; ‘Please, please, please, let me go. It will make my dream come true’. I begged. Liverpool offered 25 million euros (£18 million). But I didn’t feel disappointed about going to Sevilla(instead).”
In hindsight, it seems the situation worked out best for us. A few years down the line, we would eventually get Salah from Roma. And the rest has been there for the world to witness.
Konoplyanka had just one season in Spain before moving to Schalke and then Shakhtar Donetsk. The 32-year-old hasn’t had the career people hoped he would.
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LFC are a powerhouse in world football at the moment. Who knows how the Konoplyanka’s and the club’s future would have been had the Merseysiders decided to pay what was being asked for.