Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has taken it upon himself to open talks over a deal for Dynamo Kiev winger Andriy Yarmolenko, reports the Daily Star.
The 24-year-old seemed set for a move to Liverpool last year after Brendan Rodgers launched a £16 million move for the player. However, Dynamo were reluctant to sell their star player for anything under £23 million.
Now they are ready to sell for the reduced price of £15 million. That has reawakened Liverpool's interest with Stoke City and West Ham United also believed to be keeping a close eye on the situation.
But Abramovich is ready to use his links with the Ukrainian club to help Chelsea to the front of the queue with the controversial owner forcing open talks with Dynamo over a potential deal.
First team football
Yarmolenko is believed to prefer a move to Stamford Bridge over Liverpool, but is not willing to move to any club if they cannot guarantee first team football. That could be where Chelsea fall behind.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho already struggles to fit January signing Mohamed Salah into the team and it is likely Yarmolenko will add to the congestion currently in the team.
Meanwhile Liverpool could offer the winger more playing time while West Ham and Stoke could offer him a starring role. However, the latter two do not have the lure that Champions League football brings.
The most curious detail in this latest transfer report is that it is the Chelsea owner and not the manager in talks to make a signing. As the Russian oligarch holds many contacts throughout eastern Europe it makes sense for him to front talks, but the concern is that he is doing so without the manager's permission.
Abramovich has done similar things in the past most notably with the likes of Fernando Torres and Jiri Jarosik. Both moves proved more or less fruitless for Chelsea and Yarmolenko risks adding to the category.
It is also likely that Mourinho won't appreciate the interference and the potential deal could open open wounds that have barely healed from the Special One's first spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Is he worth the trouble?
Yarmolenko is a star in Ukrainian football and has been a consistent threat for Dynamo Kiev over the last four season. He has scored 53 goals in the league in five years. Last season was his best return with 26 goals coming for club and country in all competitions.
The versatile winger can play on both wings making his a valuable asset in any team playing a 4-3-3 strategy. Creatively he is impressive as is his dribbling, but it remains to be seen if he can translate his form in a top European league.
If you'd like to see Yarmolenko perform to some terrible music, then watch the video below.
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