Liverpool to battle Spurs for Ukrainian midfield star

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Tottenham’s seemingly-unquenchable thirst for midfield talent will mean Liverpool have their work cut out to sign Yevhen Konoplyanka before the window closes at 11pm.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has been tracking the highly-rated Dnipro midfielder throughout the winter window and may be forced to make a concrete bid in the coming hours with Spurs boss Tim Sherwood now registering an interest.

Liverpool – who are 4/6 favourites to beat West Brom this weekend – are enjoying their best season in recent years as they occupy fourth place and continue to apply pressure to the top three.

This is largely down to the formidable form of strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge but Rodgers will be keen to add to his midfield to shore up his side’s 4/7 chances of securing Champions League football.

Konoplyanka will not come cheap, with Dnipro not short of money, valuing the player at around £15m and paying him around £100,000 per week, but Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre is keen to make the deal and has been locked in talks with the Ukrainian outfit.

With 33 goals and 23 assists from his 157 career games so far it is clear to see why Rodgers has identified the 24-year-old as a suitable addition to his squad.

However, before the Anfield gaffer gets embroiled in a bidding war with his Spurs counterpart he could pay heed to the words of Konoplyanka’s countryman Oleg Luzhny.

The former Arsenal man believes that while the Dnipro star is a talent, his skills are not suited for the Premier League.

“Konoplyanka barely runs at all. Konoplyanka is a good player, but he is suited to Spain or Italy, not England,” he said.

“I don’t think the English league is right for him. The game in England is totally different – it’s about power. You have to run back and forth, back and forth.”

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.