Best as a creative #8, Viktor Kovalenko is one of Ukraine’s burgeoning talents alongside Zinchenko and Viktor Tsyhankov. He has exhibited his class throughout Europe, and is deadly at threatening from outside the box, like Kevin De Bruyne. Kovalenko announced himself to Europe with a superb performance against Gent on October 20 in the Europa League, in which he intercepted a pass and scored from long range to put Shakhtar on the scoreboard early. He’s a gloriously talented attacking midfielder who has already put his mark on the U21 World Cup. What separates him from the rest of youngsters in his position is his proficiency in front of goal. After the sale of Alex Teixeira, he took advantage of the opportunity of becoming the central playmaker in Lucescu’s side, and carried that form over into this season. It’s exciting when a prospect has an equal chance of being a box-to-box ball carrier, a deadly attacking midfielder, and a destroying midfielder, but Kovalenko is one of those rare cases. He is the best talent Ukraine have to offer, and in order to assure his career does not go the way of fellow countrymen Konoplyanka or Yarmolenko, he must take the leap to one of Europe’s top 5 leagues.
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