Liverpool Transfer News: Latest on Xherdan Shaqiri and Reds' Top Targets

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2014

ST GALLEN, SWITZERLAND - MARCH 05: Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland at the warm up prior the international friendly match between Switzerland and Croatia at the AFG Arena on March 5, 2014 in St Gallen, Switzerland.  (Photo by Marc Eich/Getty Images)
Marc Eich/Getty Images

Liverpool are reportedly inching closer to a deal to sign Xherdan Shaqiri. The FC Bayern Munich forward is one of the Anfield club's top targets, but is not the only imminent new arrival.

The Reds are also close to completing the signing of Southampton defensive rock Dejan Lovren. However, disappointment looms in any potential pursuit of dynamic Real Sociedad attacker Antoine Griezmann.

Here's a more in-depth look at the latest developments in Liverpool's pursuit of manager Brendan Rodgers' top transfer targets:

Lovren's Arrival Imminent

Croatian stopper Dejan Lovren is the mooted target closest to joining Liverpool. In fact, a deal is said to already be in place for the strong and savvy centre-back.

The Liverpool Echo has reported that only formalities remain ahead of making Lovren's arrival official:

Although the club is paying a pretty penny for him, Lovren is an excellent prospective signing. This team needs greater physicality and sharper positional sense at the heart of its defence.

Lovren will provide those qualities. The 25-year-old is an accomplished stopper, already streets ahead of the reckless Martin Skrtel and accident-prone veteran Kolo Toure.

Lovren can immediately become the linchpin Rodgers builds a solid rearguard around.

Atletico Madrid Ready to Swoop for Griezmann

As glad as Rodgers will be to land Lovren, he'll likely rue missing out on Griezmann. Mirror reporter Ben Burrows suggests the French international will snub Premier League interest from the Reds to stay in Spain's La Liga.

Burrows cites unnamed Spanish sources claiming champions Atletico Madrid will win the battle for one of the most coveted talents in this year's market:

News from Spain indicates Liverpool and Arsenal could miss out on one of their summer targets: French winger Antoine Griezmann.

Atletico Madrid are ready to turn their attentions to the Real Sociedad man, making him their number one target for the coming weeks.

It would be a shame for Liverpool to miss the chance to bring Griezmann to Anfield. His pace and devilish movement make him lethal in and around the box.

The nominal left winger doesn't make a run unless it's designed to put him in a scoring position. That makes Griezmann the perfect attacking weapon for a Liverpool team that plays quick passes to attack gaps between defensive lines.

However, Rodgers will soon forget about Griezmann if he can land another quick and tricky wide forward.

Liverpool Firm Favourites for Shaqiri

Rodgers can be buoyed by the latest news which suggests his club is the front-runner to sign Shaqiri from Munich. That's according to Swiss newspaper Blick (h/t Liverpool Echo):

Brendan Rodgers and Co. are apparently heading the queue despite a long line of suitors and they suggest the Reds have offered £14.2million for the 22-year old which is believed to be close to the Bundesliga champions' valuation.

Both Juventus and Roma are also keen but the lure of the Premier League could prove decisive.

Surprisingly deemed surplus to requirements at Bayern, Shaqiri is perfect for Liverpool. The barrel-chested 22-year-old can attack from the flanks or create from central areas.

Shaqiri also boasts deceptive strength and isn't afraid to shoot. He's got just the kind of versatility Rodgers loves in his forward players.

Shaqiri's flexibility should have taken on extra value, following the injury suffered by £25 million signing Adam Lallana:

The suggested £14.2 million fee the Red would need to pay Bayern represents a relative bargain for a player with this much potential.

Rodgers clearly hasn't finished a major summer recruitment drive aimed at achieving two goals. The first is to equip Liverpool with a squad capable of challenging in the Premier League while handling a UEFA Champions League schedule.

The second is to offset the loss of talisman striker, Luis Suarez, who was so influential in last season's title challenge. If he can add Shaqiri to Lovren, Rodgers will have gone a long way to meeting both objectives.


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