For a short while in January 2014, Yevhen Konoplyanka was all the rage amongst the Liverpool and Tottenham recruitment teams, but like pogs, yoyos and tamogotchis, their infatuation with the Ukrainian conjurer is something they’d rather not talk about today.
The Reds sent a delegation out to Dnipropetrovsk to finalise a £16m deal for the Dnipro winger’s services in January 2014, only for the player to turn down the opportunity to move to Anfield.
Spurs were also thought to be chasing the 43-cap international then and continued their pursuit into the following summer to no avail.
This pre-season will see Konoplyanka’s contract expire with the Europa League finalists, yet amazingly neither the Lilywhites or their Merseyside counterparts are interested in taking him for nothing.
Their disinterest underlines a drastic change in opinion, with both willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money to sign him in the past.
But what has brought about this mindset reversal?
His game isn’t about goals, with 45 in 209 appearances for the one-club man affirming as much.
This season’s haul of eight from 39 is slightly short of the 13 in 36 mustered last term, but it still represents his third highest return in a single campaign and, of course, it could still be bolstered with the Europa League final – which his side are 11/2 to win in 90 minutes – and two more domestic matches to come.
Five consecutive terms have seen Konoplyanka pass the 30-appearance mark, so injury-proneness can’t be a concern either.
Looking solely at performances in the continent’s consolation competition, he has recorded three assists in 13 starts and, while this doesn’t strike as the loftiest total, it still bests any managed by a colleague thus far.
His 1.5 key pass-per-match average is bettered only by veteran anchorman Ruslan Rotan, while just two teammates to have featured in more than ten games in the tournament can lay claim to a more impressive pass accuracy than his 79.3%.
He averages over 2.1 successful dribbles every time he takes the field too, another team high, as is his 2.2 shots-per-match mean.
Again, none of these figures are as impressive as the ones recorded in the same competition 12 months earlier, but, as already outlined, this was the best season of his career.
Furthermore, Liverpool and Spurs’ interest in Konoplyanka obviously existed prior to January of last year, meaning a sizeable quota of his stellar showings of 2013/14 hadn’t occurred when the both parties loaded their attaché cases and headed for Ukraine.
If what he is producing now isn’t far removed from the standard which both clubs were ready to pay handsomely for not so long ago, the answer as to why neither are interested in taking him for nothing is impossible to fathom.