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Liverpool Transfer News: Xherdan Shaqiri Deals Reds Blow as Juventus Close in

GUANGZHOU, GUANGDONG - JULY 26:  Xherdan Shaqiri of Bayern Munich in action during a friendly match against VfL Wolfsburg as part of the Audi Football Summit 2012 on July 26, 2012 at the Guangdong Olympic Sports Center in Guangzhou, China.  (Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images)
Victor Fraile/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2014

Xherdan Shaqiri has admitted joining Juventus "would be a nice option" for his career, dealing potential suitors Liverpool a blow in the race to sign Bayern Munich's unneeded talent.

Shaqiri spoke to Tuttosport (h/t Daily Mail), acknowledging a potential move to the Serie A champions:

Juventus would definitely be a nice option. Juventus are a big club, who wouldn't want to play for them... I don't think Juventus would be a step back in my career. 

But I am on holiday at the moment. My brother is occupying himself with my future.

I don't know whether Juventus have been in touch with Bayern. I have not heard anything about it from Juventus or Bayern.

In a slightly different translation of the original quotes by 101 Great Goals, Shaqiri confirms that he doesn't know if Liverpool or Monaco have made an approach for his signature. Even so, the Swiss star's emphasis appears to remain on Juve, who have entered a period of change after Massimiliano Allegri recently took over from Antonio Conte.

Shaqiri looks all but set to move away from Bayern due to his lack of first-team football. The versatile playmaker—who is comfortable on either wing or in the hole behind the striker—suffered a lack of game time under Pep Guardiola last season, making just 14 starts and 10 substitute appearances across the Bundesliga and Champions League, per WhoScored.com.

His stock rose at the recent World Cup, where he netted a fantastic hat-trick during Switzerland's 3-0 win over Honduras. Shaqiri showed himself to be something of a leader in Brazil, where he was happy to take control of possession, distribute to his teammates and string together phases of play.

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JULY 01:  Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland is challenged by Angel di Maria (L) and Jose Maria Basanta of Argentina  during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Argentina and Switzerland at Arena de Sao Paulo on July 1
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Brendan Rodgers has the tactical nuance to emphasise the stocky player's best qualities and is reported to be interested in Shaqiri, per James Dickenson of the Express. He notes that Juventus may be "forced" to sell Arturo Vidal to Manchester United if Shaqiri's move is to be funded, a potential double whammy for Liverpool fans who wish to see Shaqiri tear through Premier League opponents next season.

Sky Italia's Gianluca Di Marzio (translated by David Amoyal), confirmed that discussions between Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici and negotiators "went well." Shaqiri could become the second high-profile player to shun a Merseyside move this summer after "geography dictated" Alexis Sanchez's decision to choose Arsenal instead, according to Rodgers via Sky Sports.

Shaqiri would certainly add to an already fierce competition for places at Liverpool. Rodgers has Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho, Lazar Markovic and Adam Lallana to battle it out for positions behind the attack. Although the club does have Champions League football to contend with, defensive areas need strengthening before another attacking midfielder should be brought in.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 19:  (L-R) Leandro Bacuna of Aston Villa and Adam Lallana of Southampton challenge for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park on April 19, 2014 in Birmingham, England
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

An approach for Isco has also been made, according to Marca's Hugo Cerezo. Graham Ruthven of beIN Sports doubts whether the Spaniard has what it takes to lead Rodgers' side in a post-Luis Suarez era:

On the brink of their first title tilt in a generation, Rodgers needs a ready-made title winner. Liverpool needs a new number seven, even if he doesn’t wear the number seven shirt. But Isco isn’t the man they’re looking for.

Shaqiri has the potential to be a future No. 7—he is creative, wily and hardworking—but it seems the 22-year-old is leaning toward a move to Italy. Although he appears open to options, Rodgers' previous summer buys render an expensive summer transfer obsolete.

Many will want to take the opportunity to sign Shaqiri, but as the player begins to think about his future, both Rodgers and Liverpool fans will need to consider if money is better spent on other areas of the squad.

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