Manchester United aim to pip fierce rivals Liverpool to the signing of Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka this summer - and will make their move once newly-appointed manager Louis van Gaal gives the green light.
The Mirror report Liverpool were optimistic a deal to bring £12m-rated Konoplyanka to Anfield would be completed this summer following their unsuccessful attempts to secure the talented 24-year-old’s services at the end of the January transfer window. A deal was reportedly in place, but the transfer broke down at the eleventh hour when Dnipro president Ihor Kolomoyskyi refused to sanction the player’s release.
Liverpool’s botched effort to sign the Ukraine international appears to have left the door open for the Red Devils to pounce. United scouts have watched the player several times this season, including during Sunday’s match between Dnipro and Metalurh, in which Konoplyanka assisted the hosts’ third goal in a 3-1 win.
Van Gaal will have as much as £200m to spend on reinforcements this summer as the Dutch coach is assigned the task of making sure United qualify for the 2015/16 Champions League campaign following a dreadful season under David Moyes, who was sacked by the club after 10 months in charge in April. There will even be pressure on the current Netherlands boss to win the Premier League title, even though the Red Devils finished this season in seventh place.
Konoplyanka would be a significant upgrade on United’s current left-sided midfield options Ashley Young and Shinji Kagawa, who is a classic No. 10 by trade by has often found himself deployed out of position by Sir Alex Ferguson and Moyes since arriving from Borussia Dortmund.
Adnan Januzaj is regarded as an important player for Manchester United, but the Belgian winger’s versatility means Van Gaal might be tempted to press forward with plans to sign the dangerous Konoplyanka.