Manuel Veth –
The German page transfermarkt.de has recently updated the market values of players playing in the Ukrainian Premier League, and Dynamo Kyiv’s attacking winger Andriy Yarmolenko was amongst the big losers.
The platform, which is considered the benchmark for transfer values of football players around the planet, determined that Yarmolenko’s transfer value had fallen from €22 million to €19 million.
The main reason for Andriy Yarmolenko’s drop in transfer value, according to transfermarkt.de, was the fact that the Ukrainian collected just four goals, and one assist, in 14 Ukrainian Premier League matches, as well as just one goal, and three assists in five Champions League games.
For Yarmolenko, this means that his value has dropped for the second time in the past 24 months—he was valued at €25 million on December 18, 2015 by transfermarkt.de. This latest drop now means that Yarmolenko’s transfer value has dropped by 13.6% in the in the past season.
Andriy Yarmolenko is the most valuable player of the Ukrainian national team
Andriy Yarmolenko, however, is once again the most valuable Ukrainian national team player, as Schalke 04’s Yevhen Konoplyanka saw his transfer value diminish from €25 million to just €18 million in the summer of 2016. Yarmolenko’s Ukrainian national teammate, however, seems to have stabilized his form since joining FC Schalke 04, and a strong Rückrunde could very well mean that Konoplyanka may not only retain his value, but actually increase it.
Yarmolenko, meanwhile, is in danger of having his transfer value further decreased over the coming years. Some of this is due to the fact that the Dynamo Kyiv star has opted to remain in the Ukrainian Premier League rather than moving abroad to show his abilities in a stronger competition.
Transfer values are evaluated by the users of transfermarkt.de, and the value of a player, therefore, reflects the collective evaluation of experts who frequently contribute to the homepage. This method has worked extremely well—an independent study has correlated that the values represented on the page have a Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient of 0.93.
In the case of Yarmolenko, the users felt that the Ukrainian should have left to play in a stronger league to prove his market value. One user, for example, rightfully pointed out the Ukrainian Premier League has become significantly weaker in the last two seasons.
They certainly have a point, as the conflict with Russia has meant that several clubs have had to play in exile. Furthermore, their increasingly difficult economic situation has meant that several clubs have had to declare bankruptcy and, as a result, the league has been reduced from 16 to 14, and then finally to 12 teams (for more on this check out Episode 5 of the Futbolgrad Podcast).
Dynamo Kyiv and Andriy Yarmolenko have disappointed in the UEFA Champions League
On top of that, Dynamo Kyiv have also struggled this season. The 2015 and 2016 champions are already 13 points behind league leaders Shakhtar Donetsk, and are not likely to defend the championship in the remaining 14 games—four in the regular season, and ten in the championship round.
Furthermore, despite Dynamo’s 6-0 victory over Beşiktaş, Dynamo have been terrible in the Champions League this season, as the club finished last in Group B—a far cry from the club’s goal, which was to finish better than last season where the club reached the round of 16 against Manchester City. The performance in the Champions League was another major factor in downgrading Yarmolenko’s transfer value.
Another factor is age, as the forward is now 27-years-old, and there are increasing doubts that he will ever move to a more competitive league in Western Europe. In fact, Yarmolenko’s most recent contract extension, which earns him $5 million a season, will make it difficult for many clubs from Western Europe to lure the player away from Dynamo—especially when one factors in the significantly lower tax rate in Ukraine.
Yarmolenko would indeed have to accept a lower salary if he wants to join a club in Western Europe. Furthermore, clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Everton, and Bayern München, who were all interested in him at one point or another, have either signed other players or no longer consider Yarmolenko a viable option to strengthen their respective clubs.
Other players in the post-Soviet space have surpassed Andriy Yarmolenko
Hence, while players like Sardar Azmoun (FC Rostov), Fedor Smolov (Krasnodar), Alan Dzagoev (CSKA Moscow), and Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk) have all been linked with possible moves to Western Europe, the rumour mill has been awfully quiet when it comes to Andriy Yarmolenko.
In fact, in some ways, Yarmolenko will now have to watch that he does not lose his status as the most intriguing Ukrainian player in the Ukrainian Premier League. Shakhtar’s Viktor Kovalenko, for example, has seen his transfer value increase from €5 million to €6 million, and he was also included by Tuttosport, as one of 40 nominees for the 2016 Golden Boy Award, which is awarded to the best talent in European football.
Away from Ukraine, there is Oleksandr Zinchenko, who moved from Ufa to Manchester City, but was sent out on loan to PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Like Kovalenko, Zinchenko is a star in the making, and could very well surpass Yarmolenko, who is slowly but surely moving into the fall of his career.
Yarmolenko, therefore, has to make a decision. Will he stay at Dynamo and become a legend at the club, but at the same time always have a cloud of doubt hanging over his career? Or will he finally move away from Ukraine and prove his worth in one of Europe’s top leagues? Either way the decision will have to be made soon.
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist, writer for Bundesliga.com, and podcaster for WorldFootballIndex.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States”, which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @homosovieticus.