It was 10 years ago this month that Liverpool were on the verge of signing Yevgen Konoplyanka, but the transfer never came to fruition.
Now 34, the Ukraine winger admitted that he broke down in tears upon being denied his ‘dream’ move to Anfield by stubborn Dnipro president Igor Kolomoyskyi.
Reflecting on that episode in an interview with Weszlo, the forward said: “I cried. A delegation of serious people from Liverpool came to Dnipropetrovsk. We ate dinner. ‘Deal done,’ they argued. They were to pay as much as Igor Kolomoyskyi wanted.
“Martin Skrtel wrote me a message – ‘We are waiting for you’. Steven Gerrard also expressed his blessing. I went to Kolomoyskyi – ‘Please, please, please let me go, make my dream come true,’ I begged. Liverpool offered €25m – a lot. Igor Kolomoyskyi turned out to be inexorable.”
Even though Liverpool boasted a mesmerising front three of Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling at the time, Konoplyanka would’ve been a wonderful addition to Brendan Rodgers’ attacking options.
Ironically, he was in the Sevilla squad which triumphed over the Reds in the 2016 Europa League final, although he didn’t play in the decider in Basel.
Kolomoyskyi didn’t come across in a glowing light from the 34-year-old’s account of how the Anfield move collapsed, and once the entrepreneur stopped funding the club due to a lack of tangible on-field success, that version of Dnipro ceased to exist by 2020.
That gives you a glimpse of the kind of character with whom Konoplyanka and Liverpool were dealing at the time – not that he seems like the sort who’d care too much about denying a footballer his ‘dream’ move and earning his club a sizeable payday in terms of transfer income.