Sevilla winger Yevhen Konoplyanka has been backed “to make headlines” next season by his former Dnipro sporting director.
Konoplyanka scored eight goals and assisted a further nine in 52 matches for Sevilla last term, his first since arriving from Dnipro on a free transfer, but most of his appearances were as a substitute.
However, he ended preseason as the Europa League holders top goalscorer, with new boss Jorge Sampaoli utilising him on the left wing in a 4-3-3 formation, and Jordi Gratacos is expecting big things from the Ukrainian in 2016-17.
“I talk to him in Spanish, and he gives me the impression that he’s very comfortable and ready to start a season that will be important for him,” he told Estadio Deportivo.
“He’s now completed a period of adaptation, not only in football, but the city, country and League, and he’ll be a player who will make headlines in 16-17.
“His first season wasn’t bad, but his second can be very good. That’s the natural process.
“At Dnipro, everyone played into him because he was their most flamboyant player and had the most talent.
“They are different circumstances to those found at Sevilla, besides the normal barriers of going from one country to another.
“In addition to chipping in with goals and assists [last season], he’s scored in important matches, such as in the Champions League or against [Real] Madrid.
“He’s at an optimal level and ready to take more prominence. He’s a top player.
“If [Jorge Sampaoli] uses a 4-3-3 formation then the left wing is the best position for him because he’d be closer to the [opposing] goal.
“Let’s say you only have to overcome a line [of opposing players] before getting to the [opposing] goal, [Konoplyanka] is a player who can break quickly.”