The 2019/20 UPL season is upon us!

Two newly promoted teams make their top flight debuts, in the form of Dnipro-1 and Kolos Kovalivka.

VAR will also be introduced to the UPL this year, as it is trialled at select games every matchday.

The league set up has also changed slightly. The division will still split into two after the home and away first cycle is complete. However, this season, only ONE side will be relegated from the top flight. This is in order to accommodate the two extra teams that will be promoted in addition to the Ukrainian First League Champions, who will take the UPL’s total club tally up to 14 in time for the start of the 20/21 season!

In addition to this, there will be Europa League play off for the Relegation Group this season as well. Enabling, the side finishing top of the bottom half of the table to be rewarded with something more fruitful than the Best of the Rest trophy!

The teams have also been preparing and many have had wholesale changes across the board during what has been a busy summer. So strap yourself in for what will no doubt be another whirlwind season in Ukraine’s Premier football competition.

THE CLUBS

Shakhtar Donetsk

Last season finish: Champions

New season outlook:

A new era begins for Shakhtar under Luis Castro, the freshly appointed former FC Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes manager. The Fonseca years brought about six out of six titles, and it is expected that the new Portuguese man in charge continues this trend for years to come. 

Shakhtar began their squad rebuilding project last season as they saw a number of Brazilian stalwarts leave with a more youthful batch coming in. As such, under their new coach, this trend has continued this pre season but to a less dramatic effect. 

Under 20 World Cup winners of this summer, Ukraine captain Valeriy Bondar and Ukraine’s top scorer Danylo Sikan have been promoted to the first team squad and judging by pre season, look to be squarely in Castro’s plans for the upcoming season. Other than these two, there haven’t been any big name signings for The Miners, as of yet, who expect a lot of last season’s incomings to step up to plate more prominently this time round.

With transfer rumours still rife regarding the futures of Junior Moraes and Ismaily, there certainly may be some reinforcements or replacements ahead of the window’s closure in a month and a half’s time, but as of now, Shakhtar look as strong as they did last season (for the domestic scene). If they continue their consistent style versus every club outside of Shakhtar, then it looks likely that this side will be at the very top once again at the end of May next year.

Transfers:

IN: 

Bondar < Promoted to First Team

Sikan < Promoted to First Team

Blanco Leshchuk < End of Loan

OUT:

Petryak > MOL Vidi

Ordets > Dinamo Moscow

Danchenko > Rubin Kazan

Zubkov > Ferencvaros (Loan)

Bondarenko > Vit. Guimaraes (Loan)

Wellington Nem > Fluminese (Loan)

Sobol > Club Brugge (Loan)

Tete

Player to watch:

Tete began to make his breakthrough towards the end of last season, as Paulo Fonseca began to juggle with injuries to key men and with the league all but secured. He showed why so many in his native Brazil rate him and why Shakhtar paid close to 10 million Euros for a player who had yet to play a senior side. Tete has got pace, an eye for goal and the vision to provide assists for team mates. As Marlos ages, Tete looks like a more than able protégé and may take some of the burden off the key man, now the Ukraine international is back from injury. 

Predicted finish 19/20: 1st

Dynamo Kyiv

Last season finish: Runners Up

New season outlook:

Another season begins for Dynamo with the ‘legendary’ Khatskevich in charge. Over the summer, he signed a new 2-year contract to ensure his ‘stellar’ work was able to continue. There’s no doubt that Khatskevich can be commended for his introduction of countless academy players into what is now a very young squad. However, Dynamo’s clueless style of play, at time lack of direction and ability to struggle against some of the league’s lower sides during his tenure, opens questions as to whether these up and coming youth stars are on the right track of development under the Belarusian Lobanovskyi-ite. 

Their transfers have been limited and have raised eyebrows as to what their new recruits are needed for. Karavayev, who plays anywhere down the right hand side, may struggle for game time once Tsyhankov returns to full fitness and with U20 World Cup winner Tsitaishvili waiting in the wings. Tomasz Kedziora has also impressed at right back in recent seasons, so it is questionable as to whether this may be detrimental to the current Ukraine first choice RB’s career if he has been signed as a squad player in the mould of a James Milner type.

However, Kadiri does add depth to defensive midfield, an area in which Dynamo have do not look the strongest in. Sydorchuk and Shepelyev just don’t seem to be the most dynamic in this position, when it comes to the defensive work. Kadiri’s more defensive skillset, may help form a better cover for Dynamo’s defence.

With Shakhtar having a new manager, Dynamo should look to improve on last season and keep themselves in the title race by not dropping points against the lowly sides in the league. This is something that cost them gravely last time round. With Fran Sol, coming back from injury, he will be like a new signing for the Kyiv club; whilst academy players of the past will be coming into their second or third seasons within the senior set up, so their experience should see them in good stead for the upcoming campaign.

Despite a more than positive outlook and prospects in the form of players ‘to come good’, with Khatskevich there always seems to be a snag that always emerges at one stage or another. Never too far away from a few stupid results that end up turning detrimental once again.

Transfers:

IN: 

Karavayev < Zorya Luhansk

Kadiri < Austria Vienna 

Tsitaishvili < Promoted to First Team

Popov < Promoted to First Team

OUT:

Morozyuk > Rizespor

Rudko > Pafos

Supryaha > Dnipro – 1 (Loan)

Fran Sol

Player to watch:

Fran Sol will feel like a brand new signing this season if he stays fit. Just three games into his Dynamo career last Spring, saw the Spaniard seriously injure his shoulder. Dynamo have been seriously lacking a goal scoring forward for a number of seasons now and it looked like they had found their missing jigsaw piece when Sol first arrived. He is now back and raring to go. Giroud-esque in his hold up playing style and poacher finishing techniques; much of Dynamo’s success will depend on whether he can score the goals at pivotal moments, when talisman Tsyhankov can’t. Golden boot challenger incoming.

Predicted finish 19/20: 2nd

Dnipro – 1

Last season finish: UFL Champions

New season outlook:

Dmytro Mykhailenko’s men are very much seen as the MK Dons offering to 2015 Europa League finalists Dnipro (now folded for good). That side slid into the amateur league and has since vanished from existence due to lack of funding. Namely the funding that once bankrolled Dnipro (the city)’s premier club, now ‘supposedly’ secretly funds that of Dnipro-1. 

The new Dnipro detachment founded in 2017, acquired many of Dnipro’s players, their academy products and their stadium and have risen to the UPL in as many years as they have existed. They now enter the top flight with many tipping them to make the top six reasonably comfortably. A few Dnipro players who left the club as it descended down the leagues due to liquidation have returned to the city to ply their trade for the newer club. 

Former Ukraine U21 captain, Vakulko comes back from a spell in Serbia, as does U20 WC final star, Vladyslav Supryaha who links up with the club that he left last summer. Fellow U20 teammate Buletsa has also accompanied him on loan. Former Dnipro, Metalist and Vorskla man, Serhiy Kravchenko reappears in the UPL after two years of captaining the side in the lower echelons of the football ladder. 

With a mix of veteran UPL experience and the exuberant abundance of youth talent in the side, it looks like it could be a positive first season for Dnipro-1 in the Ukrainian top flight, something that will not be looked upon too favourably by Dnipro fans and their Ultras.

Transfers:

IN: 

Vakulko < Partizan Belgrade

Korkishko < Hatayspor

Kobakhidze < Vorskla

Kouzine < Obolon Brovary

Buletsa < Dynamo Kyiv (Loan)

Supryaha < Dynamo Kyiv (Loan)

OUT:

Brovcehnko > Obolon Brovary

Yavorksyi > Avanhard Kramatorsk

Chebotayev > Veres Rivne

Kozhushko > Kolos Kovalivka

Kuzyk > PAS Giannina (End of Loan)

Ochihava > Dynamo Kyiv (End of Loan)

Serhiy Buletsa

Players to watch:

Serhiy Buletsa will have a lot to live up to in league football after the World Cup summer he has just had. Not yet deemed ready for Dynamo’s first team, this loan looks like the perfect opportunity to show Khatskevich exactly what he’s missing alongside some invaluable starting XI top flight experience. 

Serhiy has got supreme technical ability, he’s a goal scoring midfielder, whose eye for a pass is next to none, and his delivery from set pieces is beyond his years. The kid has got talent and as such, we expect him to have a massive breakthrough season this year and there’s nowhere better for him to flourish in a side with his international forward teammate.

Predicted finish 19/20: 3rd 

Zorya Luhansk

Last season finish: 5th

New season outlook:

A new dawn really does begin for the Zaporizhya based side, as Yuriy Vernydub’s departure brings an end to an era where Zorya progressed from a mid table club to one consistently challenging for a European spot. Under former Bundesliga manager Viktor Skripnyk, the Donbas side will be looking to bounce back after last season which saw them regress on their progress of seasons gone by. Having lost their best player and sole Ukraine national team representative in Karavayev they will need to look toward new heroes. 

The side boasts a heap of players under the age of 25 throughout the squad, and new coach Skripnyk is known for playing a style of flourishing attacking football, hence goals are sure to not be at a premium. Hromov seems to have regained full fitness after a bit part contribution last season, showing his prowess in front of goal in the midweek Europa League tie, scoring a brace. Defensive frailties are apparent with the veterans, below their best and the remainder lacking in first team experience, but with the front line being focused on so prevalently by Skripnyk’s style of play, it is anticipated that Zorya will score a lot more goals than they did last season, but equally may concede more. Europe will be Zorya’s main focus, at least for the first half of the season, with the disappointment of not reaching the group stages last time round, really dampening morale within the squad.

Transfers:

IN: 

Abu Hanna < FC Magdeburg

Ivanisenia < Dinamo Tbilisi

Yurchenko < Vejle BK

Vasilj < Nuremburg 

Mykhaylychenko < Dynamo Kyiv

Lazio < CA Itapemirim

OUT:

Karavayev > Dynamo Kyiv

Hordienko > FC Sheriff

Checher > Retired

Vladlen Yurchenko

Players to watch:

Vladlen Yurchenko returns to Ukraine after a lengthy spell in Germany and Denmark. The former Shakhtar youth product arrives aiming to instil some creativity at the tip of the midfield and to contribute the odd goal here and there as well. 

His main task will be to manufacture chances for his forward teammates in that across the box role, popularised by the likes of David Silva, unlocking defences from anywhere just outside or within the 18 yard box.

Predicted finish 19/20: 4th

Oleksandriya

Last season finish: Bronze Medallists

New season outlook:

The unexpected third place finishers of last season will want to avoid the descent from grace of Vorskla, after their own bronze winning season and the chaos that Europa League football brought to their domestic game.

So far, despite their group stage qualification; the Kirovohrad oblast side have not gone crazy on recruitment. They have tied down Luchkevych, who was on loan since January to a permanent deal, whilst enlisting proven goalscorer Bezborodko to solve their issue of forwards being unable to find the net.

Yuriy Pankiv and the Oleksandriya back line were a key reason as to why Oleksandriya didn’t fall out of the top three for the entire campaign. As such, Miroshnichenko who has entertained Karpaty fans for years, has been drafted in to add depth, whilst former Ukraine U21 winger Tretyakov has been brought to add greater creativity to a side that lacks a consistent outlet for goals. Winning by the odd one has been very much the fashion for Volodmyr Sharan’s men. Primary focus will be on the Europa when it starts, but for the early months, Oleksandriya are expected to target another top half finish.

Transfers:

IN: 

Luchkevych < Standard Liege

Miroshnichenko < Karpaty Lviv

Bezborodko < Desna Chernihiv

Tretyakov < Dunjaska Streda (Loan)

OUT:

Ponomar > Volyn Lutsk

Dedechko > Ararat Yerevan

Polyarus > Khimki

Tsurikov > FK Jablonec

Hrytsuk > Free Agent

Kulach > Shakhtar (End of Loan)

L to R – Tretyakov, Bezborodko, Miroshnichenko & Luchkevych

Players to watch:

Denys Bezborodko will be expected to bring the goals to the party this season, after his performances for Desna, last time out. With wingers in the form of Luchkevych and Tretyakov and a midfield featuring Kovalets, the chances will certainly be on offer. 

Sitalo, who has been temperamental in his own goalscoring exploits, may relish in the pressure of having forward competition; bringing around a new level to Oleksandriya’s play – multiple goals per game! 

Predicted finish 19/20: 5th

Desna Chernihiv

Last season finish: 8th

New season outlook:

Desna were unlucky to crumble at the last hurdle last year, as they missed out on the Best of the Rest title. Being pipped by Vorskla for that and being edged out by FC Lviv in the race for the top six earlier that season, will have tarnished the memory of a fairly successful first campaign in the UPL. They never really flirted with any relegation danger, thanks to a versatile and contributing squad that provided goals and clean sheets from all across the park. 

They begin the season without their leading forward from last season, as Bezborodko ended his loan spell. Fortunately, as a few of their closest rivals have the distraction of European football to deal with for now, Desna have every chance to gain an early head start in the league by taking advantage of other sides being hungover from their European midweek exploits.

They have recruited well this summer, with one of the U20 World Cup winning squad’s star men, Konoplia, joining the northern Ukrainian side. In addition, they have added proven UPL forwards; Dehtaryov and Kuzyk to their forward line. The gaps left by Bezborodko and Serhiychuk should not be as detrimental as they look on paper. Overall, a top 6 finish is certainly in their mind-set and not out of reach, now that the squad has strengthened and gained experience from last season’s exploits.

Transfers:

IN: 

Pryndeta < SKA Khabarovsk

Dombrovskyi < Arsenal Kyiv

Kalitvintsev < Arsenal Kyiv

Konoplia < Shakhtar (Loan)

Zapadnya < Volyn Lutsk

Dehtaryov < Olimpik Donetsk

Kuzyk < PAS Giannina (Loan)

OUT:

Serhiychuk > Ventspils

Nemchainov > Rukh Lviv

Bezborodko > Shakhtar (End of Loan)

Partsvania > Free Agent

Denys Favorov

Players to watch:

Denys Favorov may not be a new signing but a lot will be reliant on him once more this season. The prolific goal-scoring fullback and club captain, will need to lead from the front, with a host of new signings joining and needing to integrate, alongside his own key game changing contributions that he will need to replicate. 

With further experience entering the club this summer, this should assist the defender, in shoring up his defensive line and still being able to go forward and remain as influential, up at the other end.

Predicted finish 19/20: 6th

Mariupol

Last season finish: 4th

New season outlook:

Mariupol start another season, as the unofficial sister club of Shakhtar. Once again, their incomings are all from their fellow Donetsk club. However, they have picked up some new bright young players. Three U20 world cup winners join the Europa League group stage chasing squad; with Chekh, Kornienko and Kashchuk all linking up on the Azov coast. 

Having lost key men in Pikhalionok, Zubkov, Ihnatenko and Boryachuk, it is evident that Mariupol look set to start the season weaker than last year. They surprised a lot of people by finishing fourth ahead of Zorya and that overachievement may bring them back to Earth with a thump. Fomin, up top, is not as reliable as he used to be, with the pace of Boryachuk likely to be missed. Hence, a repeat of a top 4 four finish is unlikely.

Mariupol’s early season goals will be that of qualifying for the Europa League group stages and maintaining stability in the league. If they do make the Europa, it is possible that we may see some extra transfers incoming before the window closes.

Transfers:

IN: 

Chobotenko < Shakhtar

Topalov < Shakhtar (Loan)

Chekh < Shakhtar (Loan)

Kornienko < Shakhtar (Loan)

Kashchuk < Shakhtar (Loan)

OUT:

Demiri > MSK Zilina

Sikan > Shakhtar

Boryachuk > Shakhtar (End of Loan)

Ihnatenko > Shakhtar (End of Loan)

Pikhalionok > Shakhtar (End of Loan)

Zubkov > Shakhtar (End of Loan)

Players to watch:

Maksym Chekh

All three U20 World cup winners will be hungry to impress and grasp their first taste of first team football in the top flight. Namely, Maskym Chekh is certainly one to keep a close eye on. 

Being formerly the Shakhtar youth team captain, scoring against Manchester City in the UEFA Youth League and playing a key role in the centre of Ukraine’s World Cup winning campaign; show that despite his young age, the player has certainly experienced a lot at youth level. 

He looks ready for the step up and being tipped as a future replacement for Taras Stepanenko, Mariupol will be the perfect place for him to learn the trade under Andriy Babych’s watchful eye.

Predicted finish 19/20: 7th

Vorskla Poltava

Last season finish: 7th

New season outlook:

After the Europa League hangover bug finally decided to pass in late March and Early April, Vorskla’s season looked to be like quite the failure. Sachko, their manager had left, whilst Kosovsky was still waiting for everything to click. Once that came, the side battled its way to semi silverware – the Best of the Rest – Trophy of Prestige.

This season with no Europa League distraction, should spell a charge chasing down the top 6 and aiming for a personal spot in there, after bottling it last time round and allowing FC Lviv to pip you to the post. 

So far, no signings have been inbound, whilst a few well known names at the club have decided to move on. Veteran defender, Dallku called time on his career in Ukraine, Chyzhov retired, first team keeper Bohdan Shust decided to drop down a league and Sharpar, probably the highest profile name of those who left moved to Latvia! Who will score Vorskla’s penalties now?

One goal a season striker Kolomoets remains up top, with a replacement for Kulach (who left in February) yet to be found. Pavlo Rebenok is still knocking about on the wing aged 34, whilst other OAP’s such as Chesnakov and Sapai occupy the back line. The aging line up won’t improve as the season wares on. Likely to affect results. A respectable lower half finish as a result of a load of 0-0 and 1-1 draws!

Transfers:

IN: 

N/A

OUT:

Sharpar > Riga

Shust > Inhulets

Kobakhidze > Dnipro – 1

Mysyk > Rukh Lviv

Chyzhov > Retired

Dallku > Free Agent

Players to watch: 

Denys Vasyn

Denys Vasin, on the wing looks to be the most likely outlet for any kind of creativity. He can score the odd goal and his delivery isn’t too bad either. It’s a shame the balls he will be playing in, still won’t end up in the back of the net. With Nicolas Careca moving on, Vorskla will need to get another striker that will help compliment Vasin before the season ends or it too could prove detrimental to their final finishing place.

Predicted finish 19/20: 8th

Karpaty Lviv

Last season finish: 10th

New season outlook:

Karpaty were the only side from last season’s bottom three to survive and savour another season of premier quality football. They seemed to be relatively safe for most of the season, albeit in the relegation grouo, until the last few weeks, when they decided to regress entirely.

The squad had no cohesion and stalwarts of recent seasons were itching to move on. Maryan Shved made the move to Celtic, leaving Myakushko to carry the side into the final rounds of the league. Once Karpaty won their fiercely contested and fiery (literally) tempered derby relegation play off with Volyn, Myakushko also decided to try pastures new in Spain.

This season allows Karpaty to start afresh, with a whole new group of players and a new generation ready to get stuck in. The recruitment team’s scouting seems highly random in its judgement, bringing in a Finnish – Somali midfielder from Lazio, a Luxembourgish youngster who impressed for his national team and a journeyman defender who loves scoring goals!

Surely, what could go wrong! Expectations were rightly cut short after serious optimism was wrongly judged upon last season! As such not much is expected from the Lviv outfit this time round. A serious transition period has begun and everyone would be happy just to survive and fight another season!

Transfers:

IN: 

Pidkivka < Arsenal Kyiv

Prce < Omonia Nicosia

Vakulenko < Arsenal Kyiv

Kozak < Arsenal Kyiv

Martins < Pr. Niederkorn

Mohamed < Lazio (Loan)

Yakimets < Shakhtar (Loan)

Kudryk < Shakhtar (Loan)

Dubinchak < Dynamo Kyiv (Loan)

OUT:

Myakushko > Alcorcon

Nesterov > Mezokovesd

Penkov > Olimpik Donetsk

Debelko > Riga

Yoda > Racing Santander

Mehmeric > Desportivo Aves

Mirsohnichenko > Oleksandriya

Papa Gueye > Free Agent

Fedetskyi > Free Agent / Retired

Hongla > Granada (End of Loan)

De Camargo > Leganes (End of Loan)

Shved > Celtic

Players to watch:

Serhiy Vakulenko

Serhiy Vakulenko signs from Arsenal Kyiv and will be burdened with being one of the main goalscoring outlets the side will need to exploit if they will be wanting to secure any points. 

Able to convert from the spot and dangerous from set pieces, Vakulenko will also be asked to shore up what has been a problematic defence in season’s gone by. Can the Ukrainian Ramos help to calm down the last minute capitulations at the back. It’s unlikely if his last season with Arsenal Kyiv is anything to go by. 

It will be one of those rare occasions where a defender will look to contribute more to the team in the attacking final third than in his own position!

Predicted finish 19/20: 9th

FC Lviv

Last season finish: 6th

New season outlook:

Last year’s surprise overachievers, arrived early at the party but ended up drinking way too much during the first half of the night. For the remainder, they ended up sleeping on a sofa covered in their own sick. It doesn’t matter though as the record books will say that FC Lviv in their ‘debut’ (in their current form) season in the UPL ended in the top half of the table. This being despite the fact that wins and goals came at a massive premium once the league split into its traditional two halves.

Forward Bruno was electric during the first cycle of the league up until the winter break. He made a few more minor contributions once it resumed before becoming totally anonymous for the remainder of the competition. This impacted on Lviv a lot and had it not been for the split, the side would have ended up below both Vorskla and Desna in the table based on their points tally.

As such it’s difficult to say how the side will fare this time around. They have kept the majority of the side that did them well last time round, with a further influx of Brazilians incoming once more. The Shakhtar of the West will soon be a fully fledged nickname for Lviv’s ‘other club.’ 

With the foreign contingent spurring them on, combined with a sturdy and experienced defence that is known for conceding little as much as the forward line is renowned for scoring minimally. Adamyuk and Priymak should ensure that the club survive due to their defensive exploits.

Transfers:

IN: 

Bohunov < FK NFK

Bratkov < Maccabi Petah Tikvah

Kvasnyi < Prykarpattya

Araujo < Lokomotiv Kosice

Montezello < Lokomotiv Kosice

Welves < Lokomotiv Kosice

Renan Oliveira < San Gwann FC

Zubkov < Free Agent

OUT:

Paramonov > Kolos Kovalivka

Cadina > Ergotelis

Fatyeyev > Inhulets

Voronin > Chornomorets Odesa

Kaue > Palmeiras

Players to watch:

Volodymyr
Adamyuk

Volodymyr Adamyuk was everpresent last season and his influence was evident at the back. FC Lviv who took over from Veres last season, carried over one of the most seasoned and tough tackling defenders in the Ukrainian game at the moment. 

Adamyuk will once again be the player to watch out for on the teamsheet to know whether his side are on their way to a hiding. Considerably improved when he’s playing, the amalgamated Brazilo-Ukrainian back line will no doubt be stronger with Bandura in goal and Adamyuk in front of him.

Predicted finish 19/20: 10th

Kolos Kovalivka

Last season finish: UFL – 3rd– Play Off Winners

New season outlook: 

These league debutants are certainly not here for a quick dance and then home. They are relishing their first endeavour in the top flight and the squad depth looks like it will serve them well throughout the season. 

Whilst their budget is certainly one of the lowest, their collective adrenaline and spirit this season, should be enough for them to stay in the league. Kostyshyn’s five-year tenure in charge will come as good respite for the squad when the going gets tough. He has been with them for a substantial chunk of their recent history and the small village club’s catapulting into the big time will be a highlight of the season, as shocks are almost guaranteed when discussing such an against all odds David, versus the goliaths of the top half of the table! Survival. Just! In the spirit of… but better than Blackpool’s Premier League season!

Transfers:

IN: 

Paramonov < FC Lviv 

Malyshkin < Dynamo Kyiv (Loan)

Smyrnyi < Dynamo Kyiv (Loan)

Demchenko < Avanhard Kramatorsk (Loan)

Kozhushko < Dnipro – 1 (Loan)

OUT:

Trietkov > Obolon Brovary

Players to watch:

Oleksandr Bondarenko ( centre)

Oleksandr Bondarenko had been Kolos’ top scorer for the past three seasons. Far from prolific, sharing the ‘most goals at the club award’ with a centre back, shows that improvements can be made. However, regardless of this, it is apparent that Kolos, who have been inspired by Leicester’s title win, can’t withhold their thoughts on Bondarenko becoming the next Jamie Vardy. 

That is where the comparison’s end; the Target Man will have a season to impress this season, as one of the few clubs likely to be in the relegation scrap, his squad’s depth has enough strikers in order to be able to make substitutions. A 10 goal a season striker is in there!

Predicted finish 19/20: 11th

Olimpik Donetsk

Last season finish: 9th

New season outlook:

A new season calls for another new coach. This appointment stinks of Arsenal Kyiv’s optimistic attempts at stirring public reaction by hiring Fabrizio Ravanelli. Whilst Julio Cesar (not that one) is a lot less of a coup or marquee, the former Bolton player, will be wanting to change the fortunes of a now depleting club. Vyaheslav Shevchuk didn’t work out, so they may as well try another unknown ‘managerial’ entity. 

The toxicity that is Hai has gone out of the door, which may prove difficult for Olimpik, for whom he did play fairly consistently and remained an influence until his final game. Dehtaryov decided one season was enough and has also departed, meaning sole forward responsibility will rest upon Matar Dieye’s shoulders. 

A few Metalist Brazilians made the switch, hopefully players the coach will be quickly able to integrate whilst the remainder of the transfers do not stand out too greatly just yet.

A relegation battle will ensue and with such a lack of goals and no real structure at the back, the drop could be looming!

Transfers:

IN: 

Penkov < Karpaty Lviv

Fabinho < Metalist 1925

Trubochkin < Chornomorets

Luiz Fernando < Metalist 1925

Zaviyskyi < Mykolayiv

Abubakar < Free Agent

OUT:

Sondei > Mykolayiv

Dehtaryov > Desna

Vantukh > Dynamo Kyiv (End of Loan)

Hai > Free Agent

Players to watch:

Matar Dieye

If Matar Dieye stays at the club, then the forward may be the side’s best chance of staying up. His goals were pivotal last year in helping the Donetsk outfit escape the Relegation play offs at the very death. 

Having trialled at Dynamo earlier this summer, but not deemed good enough by Khatskevich, it will be down to Julio Cesar, to help maintain his star forward’s concentration and hope to hold onto the talent former Juventus man.

10 goals guaranteed if he does stay put for the entire season!

Predicted finish 19/20: 12th

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