The Winter 2016 Transfer Window officially opened on January 1 and there already has been some exciting activity within the Ukrainian Premier League, as well as throughout Europe. The most notable departures in the Ukrainian Premier League saw Dynamo Kyiv’s Artem Kravets on a loan spell to German club VfB Stuttgart while Shakhtar Donetsk’s Ruslan Malinovskyi has seen a loan to Belgian club Genk. And with a little more than three weeks remaining in the transfer window, there is bound to be more drama.
One player, who is keen to move this winter, is Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk’s goalkeeper Denys Boyko, who was nominated in UEFA’s team of the year for the 2014–15 season. Although Boyko has always impressed in the Ukrainian Premier League and for the Ukrainian National Team, his most notable contribution was during the 2014–15 Europa League Season. Against the odds, Dnipro found itself in the competition’s final, and he and his teammates mesmerized their fans throughout the campaign. While Dnipro lost in the final 3-2 to Spanish Club Sevilla, Dnipro brought pride to Ukraine and reasserted itself in international football.
Unfortunately, Dnipro’s terrific run of form in the Europa League may have been a curse in disguise: Since the competition in May 2015, Dnipro has seen an incredible dip in form. First, Dnipro saw a mass exodus of key players during the Summer 2015 Transfer Window, with the likes of Ukrainian Yevhen Konoplyanka, Georgian Jaba Kankava, and Croatian Nikola Kalinić departing for other clubs throughout Europe. Also, Dnipro has had internal troubles as of late, which have contributed to poor form. Currently, with ten matches left in the Ukrainian Premier League 2015–16 Season, Dnipro sit in 4th place, 15 points off joint league leaders Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv. In addition, Dnipro did not advance from the Group Stage in this year’s Europa League Season.
Given these troubles, Boyko is sure to move on to make his contribution elsewhere. One destination may be Dynamo Kyiv, where he began his career as a youth player. Currently, Dynamo are joint leaders of the Ukrainian Premier League and are through to the Round of 16 in the 2015–2016 Champions League competition. While Ukrainian hero and Dynamo Kyiv legend Oleksandr Shovkovskyi has fared well in goal, he is 41 years old, which indicates that his career will soon be over. In addition, although he performed well versus Champions League Group Stage opponents Chelsea (Britain), FC Porto (Portugal), and Tel Aviv (Israel), Dynamo face a more difficult task in the Round of 16 against the British Club Manchester City. With the pace of Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, and Jesús Navas, the Ukrainian Club may opt to sign a younger but experienced keeper who would be able to deal with such trickery. A second location for Boyko would be Turkish side Beşiktaş, although these official reports have not materialized.
Yet, according to the Ukrainian media, Boyko’s most likely departure will be to Spanish side Sevilla. Perhaps ironically, Sevilla has also experienced a dip in form since its meeting with Dnipro. The Summer 2015 Transfer Window saw the Spanish Club bring in much needed support following its obtaining Champions League football (after it won the Europa League). Yet, inconsistencies and underperforming players saw the Spanish side bow out of the competition (though they will return to the Europa League this season). Moreover, Sevilla sit in 9th place in La Liga, 15 points off league leaders Atletico Madrid (coincidence?) and ten points off Villarreal, for a potential Champions League berth next season. Sevilla Manager Unai Emery will certainly want to turn around his club’s run of form, and the acquisition of Boyko would surely resolve some of Sevilla’s defensive woes.
Overall, the fact that Boyko is a gifted and experienced goalkeeper is heavily supported by his UEFA team of the year nomination. Regardless of where he ends up at the end of the transfer window, he is sure to impress his employers and the fans.