Potters prepare Konoplyanka coup with no Dnipro deal in sight
Stoke City supporters can take more than a casual interest in the upcoming Europa League final on May 27th between holders Sevilla and Dnipro, after Coral’s media partners talkSPORT reported Mark Hughes is ready to rival Liverpool and Spurs for the signature of Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.
The 25-year-old, who is a superb 7/2 anytime scorer chance in that continental competition final, most famously rifled in a stunning opener at Wembley to help his country take a point off England in a 2014 World Cup qualifier.
Almost signing for Brendan Rodgers in the winter window of 2014, Konoplyanka is out of contract with Dnipro this summer, and now looks destined to leave his native land for a new challenge.
The Reds could lose prized asset Raheem Sterling with recent events shrouding his Anfield future in doubt, and this uncertainty may be behind the apparent reigniting of Liverpool’s interest.
Tottenham have also been previously linked with capturing Konoplyanka, but Potters boss Hughes and chairman Peter Coates are understood to have sent club officials out to Dnipro to discuss a potential switch.
With competition for places in wide berths stiff at both Spurs and Anfield, Stoke may be able to storm a march on their Premier League rivals by offering Konoplyanka regular first-team football instead of the rotation that often takes place on Merseyside and in north London.
Scoring eight goals and making seven assists in all competitions for Dnipro this term, Konoplyanka would follow in the footsteps of compatriot trio Serhiy Rebrov (ex-Tottenham), Andriy Shevchenko (who flopped at Chelsea) and Andriy Voronin (formerly of Liverpool) if he chooses to move to England.
Coral recently touched on the change of image Hughes is continuing to bring about at the Britannia Stadium, and landing Konoplyanka for free would rival the bargain buy of Bojan Krkic as the club’s best-ever coup.
Dnipro are rank 11/2 outsiders to slay Sevilla in the Europa League final in 90 minutes, and 5/2 chances to lift the trophy in Poland’s national stadium in Warsaw with the winners to enter next season’s Champions League.