Reports last week began to circulate linking Manchester United with a somewhat surprising transfer move for Yevhen Konoplyanka. But now the player has been qupted as saying the lack of Champions League football would put him off a switch.
Konoplyanka has previously been linked with both Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool, and was reportedly close to a January move to the latter until complications in the deal saw it fall through.
Despite that, Brendan Rodgers' side was tipped to move for the Dnipro winger this summer...until reports claimed the player favoured a switch to United.
The only thing is, that does not appear to be the case.
The editor-in-chief of Sport-Express.ru Artur Petrosyan has tweeted a comment attributed to Konoplyanka, in which he said, "Man United? I'd rather stay at Dnipro and play in the Champions League."
If true it is a harsh comment on United's fall from grace, and could be the first example of a player coming out and saying exactly why Louis van Gaal's side will be a harder sell this summer.
United are still a huge club and the vast majority of players would jump at the chance to play for them. But the players of the quality United need to get back to the top have far more options, including clubs who will be competing in Europe's elite club competition next season.
To rule out United because they are not in the Champions League for a single season would be short-sighted. But that is something van Gaal will have to work with - convincing top stars to take a year away from competing with some of Europe's best in the hope that they can put the club back where they belong.
Konoplyanka: "Man United? I'd rather stay at Dnipro and play in the Champions League".— Artur Petrosyan (@arturpetrosyan) May 23, 2014