The political upheaval in Ukraine could have a huge impact on football, with the season now reportedly in doubt.
Unrest has taken over Ukraine in the last month, and that has stretched to the football season, with games postponed and the season possibly over – leaving those with World Cup hopes in limbo, unable to play game before the tournament in Brazil. Many players will be considering their futures in Ukraine this summer, and with a number of star players playing over there, here are ten players who could attract interest from Premier League clubs...
The diminutive Brazilian playmaker was one of the hottest properties in world football last summer, and made a surprising move to Ukraine from Atletico Mineiro despite interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs – including Arsenal. Bernard has been one of the more vocal players about the political upheaval, saying; “My parents and a cousin live with me. I have already talked to the ambassador of Brazil about if it gets worst if we leave Ukraine as soon as possible.” Bernard would almost certainly be easier to sign than Schalke's Julian Draxler for Arsenal, and could be just as talented given time and first-team football.
Brazilian star Douglas Costa is still only 23 despite starring for Shakhtar since his 2010 move from Gremio, and has recently been targeted by Chelsea and Manchester United. With speed and typically Samba-style skills, Costa has surprisingly not been capped by Brazil, but with such intense competition, Costa may need a move to Europe to catch Luiz Felipe Scolari's eye. With Liverpool seeking a winger, Costa could team up with fellow Brazilian Philippe Coutinho and reproduce his dazzling displays at Anfield.
Austrian international Dragovic was highly rated during his time with FC Basel in Switzerland, and had unsurprisingly been linked with a move to a bigger club before his switch to Dynamo Kiev last summer. At just 23, Dragovic still has bags of potential and has already shown speed, strength and aerial ability to make him a star. Arsenal were heavily linked with a move for Dragovic in the summer, and with question marks over Thomas Vermaelen's future and depth needed behind Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, manager Arsene Wenger would be wise to look into his signature once again.
Argentine winger Gomez left Catania for Metalist Kharkiv last summer, despite interest from Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid, and had established a reputation for being a pacey forward with great dribbling ability, but may need to move back to Europe in order to catch Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella's eye. Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino will be looking to build on a successful season and may target another ambitious signing, and Gomez would certainly fit the bill out wide.
The subject of much deadline day drama, Konoplyanka was targeted by Liverpool and Tottenham, but failed to secure a move away from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. A pacey, right footed winger with an eye for goal, it's no surprise to see such fervent interest in the Ukrainian international. A £16m fee had been mooted for Konoplyanka, but there are fears from Liverpool fans that they may have missed their chance to sign 24-year-old, and Spurs could make their swoop in the summer having watched him impress against them in the Europa League.
Congolese striker Mbokani has been something of a goal machine throughout his career, barring spells with Monaco and Wolfsburg. Prolific for Standard Liege and Anderlecht in Belgium, Mbokani sealed a big move to Dynamo Kiev this summer, moving to Ukraine for around £10m, but recently complained at manager Oleg Blokhin's rotation policy, which had elerted Tottenham and Arsenal, but with Romelu Lukaku and Lacina Traore heading back to their parent clubs at the end of the season, Everton will need a new striker in the summer, and Mbokani can replicate their physical approach up front.
24-year-old Rakitskiy has been a mainstay of the Shakhtar Donetsk team in recent years, and his impressive displays for club and country had attracted interest from Bayern Munich and Barcelona, but if he became available, clubs in the Premier League could stand up and take notice. With question marks over the future of John Terry and David Luiz, Chelsea could certainly stand to add another centre back and Rakitskiy is a technically gifted defender who could contribute immediately.
Croatian international Srna is almost 32, but has been one of the better right backs in European football for many years now. Whilst a solid defender, Srna's reputation is almost entirely founded upon his attacking ability. With great crossing and set piece delivery, Srna is a threat to supply quality in to the box at all times. He admitted to recently turning down Chelsea, but with confusion surrounding Ukrainian football, a move to Arsenal could be beneficial given that current Gunners full back Bacary Sagna looks set to leave the club.
Portuguese midfielder Veloso has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, but his international aspirations may mean he's forced to leave Ukraine. William Carvalho, recently suggested as a Manchester United target, is in danger of taking Veloso's place in the Portugal side, and Veloso needs to prove his worth to manager Paulo Bento. A number of teams are in need of depth in central midfield, and Arsenal and Liverpool, and with great passing and an outstanding left foot, Veloso could be of great worth to a team in England.
The Dynamo Kiev star has had a growing reputation in recent years, and has attracted interest from Liverpool and Manchester City most recently. A left footed winger with great ability on the ball, Yarmolenko has has hit an impressive 70 goals in 197 games for Dynamo, including hitting double figures in each of his last four seasons. Liverpool are in dire need of a winger, but City may be more of an attractive proposition at the moment, whilst Manuel Pellegrini may also look to add another left footed wide man behind David Silva.
image: © Fanny Schertzer