Schalke winger Yevhen Konoplyanka claims Stoke tried to sign him this summer, reports The Sentinel.
Konoplyanka has long been a target for Mark Hughes, who also tried to sign him in 2015.
And the Ukraine winger was again pursued by the Potters before regaining his place in the Schalke team after the sacking of Markus Weinzierl.
Things took a sour turn when he fell out with coach Markus Weinzierl, who was forced to sign him on a permanent basis after the end of the season due to a clause in the deal.
The player even went as far as calling the manager a ‘coward’ who would get the club relegated if he remained in charge of the German side.
“He is a coward,” Konoplyanka said to Ukraine’s Football Hub back in June, as quoted by per the Stoke Sentinel. “He will not stay as the coach of this team, otherwise Schalke will drop to the second tier.
“We talked through a translator. He told me I should look for a new club and I told him: ‘Listen, you believe you’ll be here longer than me?’
“If I could have said more, I would have asked him more questions. Why is it not possible to talk in advance and explain everything, that’s cowardly.”
But the club’s board decided to sack the manager and replace him with Domenico Tedesco, who has made Konoplyanka a key part of the side.
“I decided to stay in the squad after seeing Schalke’s new coach Tedesco,” the player explained.
The new coach has been rewarded by some fine form from Konoplyanka, who has already scored three goals in his first three games this season.