Manuel Veth –
RB Leipzig wanted him, Roma were interested, Manchester City had sent their scouts, and Benfica Lisbon were also snooping about. Recent reports suggest that Dynamo Kyiv will win the race for the 18-year-old Dnipro-1 striker Vladyslav Supriaha.
The 18-year-old spent all of last season with Dnipro-1, one of two clubs that have risen out of the ashes of former Europa League finalists Dnipro FC. Run by the former police special patrol commander Yuri Berezna Dnipro-1 are technically not the successor club of Dnipro FC.
At the same time, however, Dnipro-1 were able to take control of one of Dnipro FC’s biggest assets, the youth school and academy. It was a move that could now pay massive dividends in the form of super talent Vladyslav Supriaha.
With seven goals in 22 matches Supriaha, in fact, was a big part of the club’s successful promotion from the third division to the Ukrainian Persha Liga. He then took part at the U-19 European Championships this summer in which Ukraine managed to reach the semifinal against Portugal.
The young zbirna side may have lost that match 5-0, but Supriaha managed to leave an impression nonetheless after he made it 1-1 against England in the second group stage match. The goal ended up securing Ukraine a vital point and allowed the young zbirna win the group ahead of the young Three Lions.
Vladyslav Supriaha – A raw gem only at a second glance
Under normal circumstances, one goal in four matches is not an impressive return for a striker in a youth tournament. But Supriaha had to make the jump from playing third division football in Ukraine to one of the most competitive international youth tournaments on the planet.
In fact, long gone are the days where youth tournaments like the U-19 are packed with unknown gems. Nowadays most clubs know precisely who they are scouting ahead of the competition and rather than discovering a previously unknown player will watching games looking for confirmation on already known facts.
Hence, Supriaha it is no surprise that Ajax Amsterdam offered €3 million for the striker ahead of the tournament. Dnipro-1, however, rejected the offer and after Supriaha was voted in the team of the tournament RB Leipzig, according to Ukrainian sources, was the next club to see an offer rejected.
On August 9 it was reported that Dynamo Kyiv had won the race for the striker, apparently agreeing to a deal that worth €7.5 million for 50% of the transfer rights. Yuri Berezna, however, quickly put a damper on the rumour.
“Previously, on the internet, I voiced the financial conditions for a transfer [around €15 million]. But this will be addressed in confidence, with the club, who we are negotiating with”, Berezna told Sports.ru on Thursday, August 9.
Despite the recent explosion in transfer values of youth internationals €15 million for a player, who has previously played only in Ukraine’s third division would be a sensational sum. The market, however, dictates the prices and with Supriaha now on the radar of several European top clubs chances are that the forward could see his market value further increased in the coming years.
Regarding Ukrainian youth players, the benchmark was recently set by the 19-year-old Andriy Lunin. The Zorya Luhansk youth product joined Real Madrid for €8.5 million this summer becoming the most expensive Ukrainian goalkeeper in history.
Andriy Lunin is the new benchmark
Lunin’s move from Ukraine to Spain is now impacting Supriaha’s future as well, with Dnipro-1 arguing that Supriaha, as a forward, should command a bigger transfer fee than Lunin, despite never having played in the first flight.
Dnipro-1, however, are confident that a club will meet their demands. They know that Supriaha possesses the sort of raw talent that is raw in a forward. Tall, physically strong with a good vision not just for the goal but also his teammates Supriaha is not more than just a classical number 9.
Ukraine often had to sit deep at the U-19 European Championships. As a result, Vladyslav Supriaha had to often sit deep to collect the ball deep in the attacking end or even in his team’s half.
It was fascinating watching Supriaha acting as a wall player, winger and poacher all at once. Sometimes it almost felt like the player with the number 11 on his back was acting like an attacking number 10. A playmaker to hold up the ball while the rest of the team joint the attack.
Finally, his one goal of the tournament against England also showed that he is a dangerman. Receiving a high ball inside the penalty box, Supriaha stopped the ball, balanced it on his toe, turned and then beat the keeper with a low drive.
All of these qualities make it understandable why Ukraine’s top club Dynamo Kyiv want to secure the striker. But on the other hand, it also explains why Dnipro-1 are coy in letting the player go without having their hand on any future earnings. After all, Supriaha looks like the real deal and could very well become Ukraine’s next big export following Lunin’s transfer to Real Madrid this summer.
UPDATE–Supriaha joined Dynamo Kyiv on Friday, August 10, for a reported transfer fee of €6 million. Dnipro-1 will receive 50% of any future transfer.
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds 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 is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.