30 Aug 2015

TMW Exclusive: Liverpool pushing to sign 'excellent' €20m attacker with 159 goals/assists in 260 games

Over the last couple of years, I've regularly called for Liverpool to sign Dynamo Kiev star Andriy Yarmolenko, and if reports in Italy are to be believed, it appears that Brendan Rodgers has finally seen the light.

According to an exclusive today in Italian newspaper Tutto Mercato:

* Liverpool have a 'strong interest' in signing Yarmolenko, and are 'ready to pay' his €20m release clause.

If this is true, then it's the best transfer news in years.

I've outlined Yarmolenko's qualities time and time again, and yes, I'm going to repeat myself again (my apologies to regular visitors!):

* 159 goals/assists in 260 games for Kiev (Goal/assist every 1.6 games | 20+ goals/assists every year for the last five seasons)

* Last Season: 19 goals/21 assists (40 G/A total) in 42 apps (Basically 1 goal/assist every single game).

* 19 goals in 49 games for the Ukraine national team.

* Tall (6'2) and strong, which is something Liverpool do not have in attack. Bar Henderson, all the club's attacking midfielders are on the small side, and don't have great physical strength.

* Most importantly: Yarmolenko - who is an 'excellent player' according to Kiev boss Sergei Rebrov - has never been injured, which shows he's robust enough to handle the Premier League. Plus, in the Ukraine, he's used to playing (and delivering the goods) in crappy weather.

So, why is Yarmolenko still playing in the Ukrainian league at the age of 25? Well, there's s simple answer to this: he's specifically chosen to remain in that league. Indeed, after winning the league in June, Yarmolenko told ESPN:

"I promised that until we become champions, I was not going anywhere. I kept my promise, we became champions".

Kiev last won the league in 2009, and as he states, Yarmolenko didn't want to leave the club without winning the title. Well, it took 6 years to achieve that, and the Ukrainian is clearly a man of his word.

As a comparison, consider Jackson Martinez:

* He didn't leave the Mexican league (arguably inferior to the Ukrainian league) until the age of 25.

* Using the specious logic of the anti-Yarmolenko argument, there must've been something wrong with him, too. That's nonsense, though, as Martinez has smashed-in 112 goals/assists in 133 games for Porto since moving to Europe.

* On a related note: I regularly hear fans bemoaning Liverpool's failure to sign Yehven Konoplyanka, but like Yarmolenko, he's spent the last 8 years in the Ukrainian league, and only left this summer at the age of 25. Why the double-standards?

Andriy Shevchenko is a big fan of Yarmolenko, and in an interview with Yahoo Sport, he raved:

"Yarmolenko is a great player, talented and quick. Even though he doesn’t play in my position up front, he still manages to score plenty of goals. If he works hard, he could reach the highest level like I did".

Over the last few years, Liverpool have spent £103 million on Lallana, Markovic, Aspas, Alberto, Origi, Lambert, Borini, and Balotelli, but none of them have Yarmolenko's prodigious creative consistency, or Olympian fitness levels (either pre or post signing).

I am not arguing that Yarmolenko is the answer to Liverpool's problems, but the Reds clearly need another goalscoring attacking midfielder who is capable of providing width. Plus, Yarmolenko is more suited to the physicality of the Premier league than any of Rodgers' prior attacking signings.

This deal is an absolute no-brainer, and if Rodgers has any sense, he'll be exhorting the club to pull out all the stops to sign Yarmolenko ASAP. If utilised correctly, he is the type of player who can transform Liverpool's season.

Alas, I don't hold out much hope that Liverpool will seal the deal. In his infinite delusion, Rodgers probably believes that Lallana, Ibe, Milner, Can, Henderson, and Coutinho will score shedloads of goals this season, when the reality is that *none* of those player has reached double figures in the Premier League. Ever.

It's the same old story this season, too: 360 minutes of football so far, and Coutinho is the only one of the aforementioned group with a goal to his name. None have assists, but that's hardly surprising then the team has scored only two goals in four games.

Of course, I hope and pray that I'm proven wrong, and Yarmolenko is a Liverpool player on Wednesday morning. If that happens, my optimism for the season ahead will skyrocket.

Author: Jaimie K


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