Liverpool have quietly gone about their business this summer, making four additions with the hope of more along the way.
Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas will join the Anfield club for next season, bolstering the options for manager Brendan Rodgers. Toure is a guaranteed starter in place of Jamie Carragher; but Mignolet faces a gruelling head-to-head fight with Pepe Reina for the No. 1 shirt.
Shakhtar Donetsk’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a target for Liverpool—but he decided to join Borussia Dortmund last month. The Armenian would have been a terrific coup for the Reds after finishing top scorer in the Ukrainian top-flight with 25 goals in 29 games.
But in the aftermath, attention has shifted to Bayern Munich’s Xherdan Shaqiri, who finds himself in a stiff battle for a first-team place with an array of stars at the Allianz Arena. Bayern president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has ruled out any contact from Liverpool, as The Express’ Ben Jefferson reports.
"Nobody has called about Shaqiri. Right now there are no plans (to sell),” Rummenigge said. "The coach is completely satisfied with him. I think we will go into the season with the current squad."
Swiss international Shaqiri looks an unlikely switch for Liverpool, but still, the club’s hierarchy should pull out all the stops to sign the player. The 21-year-old’s diminutive style, low centre of gravity and powerful dribbling has been fairly contained since his €11.6 million move to Germany, having impressed with FC Basel in their league success and Champions League win over Manchester United.
The level of competition at Bayern Munich is incredible and Pep Guardiola has a fantastic short list for midfield slots: Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Thiago Alcantara, Mario Gotze, Emre Can, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Luiz Gustavo.
So, an appropriate bid for Shaqiri—maybe in the region of £20m—could be enough to pry the Bayern Munich man away from the Bundesliga. The attacking midfielder has the qualities and potential to be one of the best players in the world, if complemented by regular first-team football.
A rumoured switch to Borussia Dortmund to fill the vacated No. 10 slot would’ve been fabulous for Shaqiri, and likewise the opportunity to spearhead Liverpool’s central area for next season would be fascinating to watch.
On the face of things, Shaqiri will need to adjust to another period in reserve for Bayern Munich, but he has the technical assets that favour Guardiola long-term.
There could be room for Liverpool to manoeuvre and so they should. If there’s a time to invest strongly in a key player, Shaqiri fits the bill.