Jack Beresford scours Eastern Europe to uncover three players Tottenham Hotspur should consider alongside rumoured January target Yevhen Konoplyanka
The news that Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly reignited their interest in Dnipro midfielder Yevhen Konoplyanka is interesting to say the least, but could Spurs be better served by opting for another Eastern European midfield alternative?
According to reports, the Lilywhites could land the midfielder for as little as £5 million this January, but with a plethora of players offering similar or better services in both Russia and the Ukraine, any one of the following three could prove better purchases.
Alan Dzagoev – CSKA Moscow
Named Best Young Player of the Year by the Russian Football Union back in 2008, the attacking midfielder was linked with a move to Real Madrid in his younger years and looked to be heading for the big time after impressing for the Russia national team at Euro 2012.
But two years on and the 24-year-old’s career has stalled somewhat, despite Dzagoev remaining a regular goalscorer for CSKA at club level.
An intelligent passer who demonstrated his finishing abilities with two fine goals at the last European Champions, Dzagoev, like Konoplyanka, has proven effective when cutting inside from the left, though he is equally adept in a central or even a deep-lying playmaker role.
More importantly still, the attacker has previously expressed a desire to move to the Premier League and more specifically London. A Spurs switch could therefore be the ideal solution as Dzagoev looks to ensure he is at his sharpest ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Viktor Faizulin – Zenit St Petersburg
The heartbeat of Andre Villas-Boas’ table-topping Zenit side, Faizulin may be a little older than the other Tottenham transfer targets proposed in this article but he remains one of Russia’s best football brains and a player who could thrive in the English top-flight.
A centrally-based playmaker by trade, the 28-year-old’s eye for an exquisite pass, coupled with his ability to deliver a killer through ball when required could see him inherit many of the fans who once sang Luka Modric’s name at White Hart Lane.
Able to take on a defensive, central or all-out-attacking midfield role, his age could reduce any potential transfer fee while with Russia national team boss Fabio Capello keen for his squad to be at their sharpest before next World Cup, a switch to the Premier League could do the trick.
Has already played almost 150 games for Zenit and is likely to be keen on one last hurrah before he hits the twilight years of his career.
Andriy Yarmolenko – Dynamo Kiev
An attacking midfielder capable of playing on either wing, Yarmolenko has long been linked with a move to the Premier League, having established himself as the latest bright young thing to emerge out of the Eastern European football talent factory that is Dynamo Kiev.
Now 24 and with 155 games and 59 goals for the Kiev club under his belt, it's high time Yarmolenko realised his potential with a move to one of the continent’s more competitive leagues .
Liverpool were reportedly considering a bid of around £19 million back in the summer of 2013 while Stoke were more recently linked with a bid for the Ukrainian star who was once dubbed the "new Sheva" by the national media.
A quick and intelligent operator, Yarmolenko has already scored twice and provided a further two assists for Dynamo in the Europa League this term and could help the club get the best out of penalty box operators like Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor.