Sports blog: Barcelona targets Yarmolenko after English clubs rejected
Barcelona’s most read soccer newspaper Sport on Aug. 25-26 has reported that Dynamo Kyiv forward Andriy Yarmolenko is wanted at Camp Nou as a replacement.
It’s the latest transfer development for the 25-year-old Dynamo captain whose progress as a soccer player is peaking in the domestic league and requires top flight experience to reach full potential.
Ever since Dynamo re-claimed the premier league championship last season, it has received and rejected a number of offers for Yarmolenko, among which from Stoke City and Everton.
Although Yarmolenko’s contract runs through June 2016, he has called on Dynamo’s president Ihor Surkis to honor an oral agreement that he wouldn’t leave the club until a domestic league trophy is hoisted once again.
However, Dynamo has maintained, at least publicly, that the offers for the striker were not of Yarmolenko’s caliber, and that the club would only let him go to a top European club. Everton and Stoke City are not participating in UEFA’s two club tournaments this season. Even Dynamo head coach Serhiy Rebrov has publicly stated that Stoke City “is not of Yarmolenko’s level.”
According to lawyer Markiyan Kliuchkovskyi, head of sports law practice at Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine, Yarmolenko has implied that he won’t sign a contract extension if offered one, and that he would work off the remainder of his contract, and sign with another club as a free agent next summer if he has to.
This carries the risk of receiving less interest if he underperforms this season or if he sustains an injury, Kliuchkovskyi told the Kyiv Post.
Complicating the situation is the transfer embargo imposed on Barcelona by FIFA until January, and with the current transfer window for players closing at midnight on Aug. 31.
Barcelona reportedly is looking for someone to replace 28-year-old winger Pedro who went to Chelsea in lieu of two homegrown players. The idea is to have someone ready to perform in case Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, or Neymar get hurt.
Spanish newspaper Sport reported that Everton offered €24.5 million for the 1.89-meter Ukrainian striker. It called him the “new Shevchenko” in reference to former Dynamo great Andriy Shevchenko who shined with AC Milan before playing for Chelsea and ending his career back with Dynamo.
Scouts note that the left-legged Yarmolenko is a talented player who uses his height to his advantage and tricky footwork to get past players, while also being a deadly sniper during set pieces. Over the past weekend he surpassed 100 goals in official Dynamo matches with a hat trick in a Ukraine Cup fixture during which he also had three assists.
Should Dynamo accept Barcelona’s reported €20 million offer, according to Kliuchkovskyi, the Spanish club would buy Yarmolenko but immediately send him back to Kyiv on a six-month loan because of the FIFA sanctions it faces. Reports though suggest that Barcelona would only lend him under the condition that Dynamo doesn’t play him in the Champions League. UEFA doesn’t allow a player to appear for two clubs in one season during sanctioned club tournaments.
Legally, it is still not clear how Barcelona’s proposed transfer-and-loan option is going to work, according to Kliuchkovskyi.
Dynamo hasn’t responded to this offer and reportedly offered Yarmolenko a contract extension, which he is expected to reject, the lawyer said.