The worrying history surrounding Konoplyanka's potential Premier League arrival

England V Ukraine

Liverpool, Manchester United and Spurs target Yevhen Konoplyanka will have to break tradition in order to be a success in the Premier League.

The Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk winger is a €15m target for all three sides, having impressed at domestic and international level in recent years. The 24-year-old has earned a reputation in Ukraine for being a speedy wide man with great dribbling and trickery, and was seen as the solution to Liverpool's wing problems, but late interest from United and Tottenham has put the deal in doubt.

But whilst Konoplyanka is highly rated in Ukraine, he wouldn't be the first Ukrainian to play in the Premier League – and, worryingly for the clubs interested in the Dnipro man, none of them have succeeded.

Alex Evtushok became the first Ukrainian to play in the Premier League when he joined Coventry City in 1997, also from Dnipro, but made just three league appearances before heading back home swiftly. An £800,000 signing that clearly didn't work out for then-manager Gordon Strachan, the centre half will go down as a flop for the Sky Blues, and his failure sets the tone for his compatriots.

Oleg Luzhny was the next to try his luck in England, following a hugely successful stay with Dynamo Kiev. It was Arsenal who signed the right-back in 1999, as manager Arsene Wenger had been impressed with Luzhny's displays in the Champions League when the Gunners took on the Ukrainian side. Primarily used as a backup to Lee Dixon, Luzhny made just over 100 appearances for the club in four season, before moving on to Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he featured just 10 times.

One of the most famous flops in Premier League history is striker Sergei Rebrov, who arrived at Tottenham Hotspur in 2000 for £11m. Much was expected of Rebrov, whose goalscoring exploits alongside Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kiev had seen him become a hot property in European football. But after scoring just 10 league goals for Spurs, Rebrov was loaned out to Fenerbahce and eventually ended up at West Ham United, where he scored just one league goal before moving back to Dynamo.

Whereas Rebrov's record outside of Ukraine was disappointing to say the least, the same can't be said of the aforementioned Shevchenko. Having scored a staggering 173 goals in 296 games for AC Milan in Serie A, Chelsea swooped to sign the striker for £30.8m, with high expectations for a player who was arguably the leading poacher in European football at that time. But the move was a disaster, as Shevchenko hit just nine Premier League goals 48 games, making him one of the most expensive flops in Premier League history.

Finally, another Ukrainian striker who arrived in England was Andriy Voronin, who was brought to Liverpool on a free transfer by manager Rafael Benitez. Voronin had enjoyed success in the Bundesliga, hitting 74 goals in 223 games during spells with Borussia Monchengladbach, Mainz, Koln and Bayer Leverkusen, and he was seen as the man who could join Fernando Torres on the goalscoring trail at Anfield. However, just five goals in 27 Premier League games saw him shipped out to Hertha Berlin on loan, before finally being sold to Russian side Dinamo Moscow for £4m in 2010.

With all of these players struggling to make the adjustment to Premier League football, there must be some concern from Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham fans over the success they will see from Konoplyanka, who has succeeded in domestic and international football – just as the other Ukrainian players in Premier League history have. Only time will tell, but the winger would have to break tradition in order to be a success.

images: © worldwide souvenirs, © tomaszd

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